A couple of days ago I had an incident at work that was jaw dropping for me. I announced a decision to limit the number of comments per person I will allow in one particular internal social network discussion group that is prone to bickering over political issues. Since the purpose of the network is to foster positive connections and communication, I felt it necessary to minimize such unhelpful non-business online banter. The vast majority of people immediately agreed and showed their support.
Inconceivably, one person – aware that I am conservative – commented on my announcement with something like “I suppose this will only be applied to Obama supporters.” My jaw dropped when I read that. My brief response was “Excuse me?”
In 2.5 years of managing our internal network, nobody – and I mean nobody – has ever questioned the integrity or fairness with which I manage, nor do they nor will they ever have a reason to do so. I apply the same rules to all, doing what is in the best interest of the growth and usefulness of the community in accomplishing business goals. I challenge anyone to show evidence to the contrary. So when someone spewed such an unfounded accusation publicly for all to see, many were stunned to see it, not the least of which was me.
Accusations are either true or they aren’t. If they are true, then there needs to be admission of wrongdoing and behavior needs to change accordingly. If accusations are false, the accused needs to stand firm and continue behaving properly, aware that you can’t stop accusations from coming your way, but you don’t have to be sidetracked by false ones. You can carry on with confidence.
I’ve been on the giving side and the receiving side of accusations regarding integrity. Neither side is fun, although in the case of uncovering truth that is hidden, it is an uncomfortable but necessary process. If you’re the accuser, make darn sure you have the evidence before accusing. If you’re the accused, just tell the truth.
Integrity may not mean much to some people, but it means a whole lot to me.
Leap year lesson #291 is Guard your integrity with consistent behavior.