Tag Archives | ethics


Trust in senior management is declining in the UK. According to a survey, 41% place little or no trust in senior managers to look after their interests, and only 25% place a lot of trust in their managers.

The effect of a lack of trust is low loyalty, and lack of commitment to the organisation. Can you afford this as a cost in what you are trying to achieve in your organisation?

Most leaders I meet would prefer to be seen as trustworthy. What may stop them is that they don’t know how to create that perception – ‘ I am not like others’ – or don’t know how to manage the expectations of their own bosses/shareholders and be trustworthy for employers.

So how do you come across as trustworthy? Obviously, the first step is to have the integrity that leads to trustworthiness. We tend to trust people who are straight with us, tell the truth, recognise and value what we do and who we are.

So as a leader, we need to be known by our workforce, and know them. This is not hard. It requires us to set some time aside each day to wander around our workplace, talking to people, gradually getting to know their names, and noticing their reliability rather than just descending when there is a problem. It is amazing how powerful it is just to know people’s names – we all feel more recognised when someone remembers who we are!

We also need to be straight with people, and keep them informed. By the way, this includes telling them that you don’t know the answer to their concern, rather than bullshitting your way through! We were talking about this issue in a workshop the other day, and one of the leaders present said that his old boss used to have set times for appearing in different parts of the organisation, and would be there for an hour or so. People knew that they could ask him anything at that time, and did so. If he didn’t know or hadn’t got the time to talk properly with them, he would always say that he would get back to them – and he did! It made him a trusted leader.

And what if your bosses are putting pressure on you to cut staff, or cut costs in some other way? It is time we started working out the maths for the real cost of these sorts of actions as a short term solution: the cost of increased staff turnover from survivors of staff cuts – often our best workers who have lost faith in their leaders; the cost of low morale from those who are left, and the resulting lower productivity; the cost of reducing the standard of our customer service in terms of longer term customer retention and increase. We all know with our common sense that these types of cuts only pay off in the short term, and cost more in the longer term.

As a leader we have to be both courageous enough to say so, and astute enough to actually present a good business case for taking another approach.

There is a history at work of people not trusting their boss. The lack of trust is getting worse. Make sure you are in the healthy minority who have integrity and demonstrate it, and help us to create more long term sustainable organisations with a trusting and motivated workforce.


Comments { 0 }


I met up with a manager I hadn’t seen for about two years the other day. It was a delight to see Robert, and we immediately fell back into our old way of talking with each other. Within a short period of time, he had told me about his life over the last few years, both personal and professional. I realised that he had given me his trust, just as he had when I was his coach, and it got me to thinking about trust.

As a leader, two-way trust is essential, if we are to perform well. We need to trust those we work with, both peers and team members, and they need to trust us. With this trust, we can achieve miracles, because we are not wasting our energy on watching our backs, and can focus that energy on doing the job well instead.

The only way we can gain trust from others is through our behaviour and attitude towards them. If we are trusting of them, they tend to return the trust. If we keep confidentiality, they are more likely to tell us the truth. If we are honest with them, they will be honest back.

We all know this – our close personal friendships work on this basis, and our work relationships are not that different. In the same way as we can rely on our friends to support us and be there when we need them, we need to be able to do the same with our work colleagues, because they will help us to perform at our best.

And of course, this is two-way. If we want the best from our teams, we need to be there for them, and support them when they need it. This approach is often seen as part of the coaching style of management, but to me, it is more than just a style. It is a way of life, a way of being with people, that makes work more enjoyable, more satisfying, more rewarding, for both parties.

We sometimes think that caring for our colleagues is ‘too soft’ and will lead to them exploiting our softness. Yet very few people fail to respond to being trusted and supported as a person. And most people work far more effectively for someone they feel they can trust.

If we want to be effective as a coach, either professionally or as a way of supporting our friends, then building trust into the relationship is essential.  (For more on being an excellent coach, visit www.meta4business.com/coaching)

Building more trust into relationships.

  • If you are not very trusting, experiment with giving trust a bit more, and count how many times it pays off, rather than back-firing.
  • And if you are a trusting manager, keep going, build on it!
  • If someone comes to you with something personal, make sure that you treat their subject with respect, and keep it to yourself.
  • And if you make a promise, keep it.


Comments { 0 }


We were recently working with a group, exploring the characteristics of an excellent leader. When we had identified a list of those characteristics, we asked people to choose two that they felt they were good at, and that mattered. A significant number of them chose ‘honest’, explaining that it was vital for trust and good relationships and that dishonesty was something they could not tolerate in others.

I was delighted that this had become so important to people – we have done this activity many times before, and I have never seen so many people choose honest as their quality. Maybe the whole sorry business at Enron, not to mention the questions over the US and British governments’ reasons for going to war with Iraq have brought this issue up to the forefront of people’s minds recently. If so, then there is some good come out of so much unacceptable behaviour!

It is common sense that honesty is the best policy, yet so often leaders are ‘economical with the truth’. This may seem easier at the time, but we all know that longer-term, we win more respect from others when we are honest with them, and they come to know that they can trust us to play straight with them.

We also know that we feel better in ourselves when we are not deceiving others, and on a purely practical level, you don’t have to remember what you were dishonest about if you simply stay honest!

We often misinterpret what being honest means in practice. This is a sad reflection on how common deception is in different forms. Whilst we may all recognise and choose to despise the out-and- out lie, we are often living with the everyday deceptions without even being aware of it in ourselves. We do after all, have a culture of politeness, so we spend a lot of time censoring our thoughts when interacting with people to make sure we don’t offend them, and this is also sometimes a form of dishonesty.  Whereas we react to others who are not playing straight with us, we often don’t realise how much we are doing the same thing.

What we particularly remember in ourselves is the times when we have not told people something negative – where we have ‘held our tongue’ – so when we talk about being honest, we think of telling people what we really think of them – and we don’t think of the nice things we would have to say!

As a leader, I believe we have to wake ourselves up to the full meaning of the principle of being honest, and demonstrate how it works to all our advantages for our staff.

Honesty with ourselves.

  • Are we living our own values?
  • Are we leading others as we would like to be led?
  • Are we being straight with ourselves about the state of our business?

Honesty with our staff

  • Do we tell them both good news and bad news about the company?
  • Do we tell them when they perform well, and when they need to improve?

It is not hard to be honest – it’s easier than deceit or lies!  I’m sure you would prefer to have others honest with you, so apply the same principle in your dealings with others.


Comments { 0 }


I listened the other day to someone explaining why there was no point in being honest about why they hadn’t been at work the previous day. ‘My boss claims he is in a meeting in London when he wants to go and play golf, so why should I say that my wife was ill? I will pretend it was me who had a virus.’

This man had not done anything wrong in taking time off to care for his wife, yet he preferred to maintain the standards of his workplace and cover up with a story.

It made me think about the power of the example the leader sets for his or her team. We all, as leaders, sometimes fail to set the best of examples. I know that I have been guilty of the ‘do as I say not as I do’ syndrome at times. Nonetheless, we need to be really conscious of how powerful we are in determining how others around us behave.

It is worth spending a little time thinking about what example you would prefer to give to others:

  • Are you true to your values, or do you compromise them?
  • Do you bring your human beingness into the workplace or act as if you are a robot when you are at work?
  • Do you ensure that you are in a good state – enough food, sleep, time off – or do you stretch yourself to your absolute limits, and then perform less than well?
  • Do you pay attention to people when they talk to you or wonder how long it will be before you can escape?
  • Do you keep people informed of what is happening or use the information you have as power over others?
  • Do you take risks or always play it safe?
  • Do you admit when you are wrong or try to cover it up?

Of course, this list could go on and on, but this will give you a starting point to consider!

Everyone is affected by their leader. He or she sets the tone for the department or organisation, whether they like it or not. We spend a lot of time in different companies, and we know what the boss is like before we even meet them. We just have to watch how the team behave! Whatever you tell them to do, they will do what you do, so make sure you get what you want from them by being like it yourself.

Comments { 0 }


At Meta we are committed to running and helping you run your business with integrity. A business built on the core principles of integrity is a business that has a recipe for success.

So often we hear the word integrity, but what do we mean when we speak about integrity?  What pops to mind for most people are the words honesty and truth, and most definitely they are a very core part of integrity.  But it is also interesting to consider that what makes integrity so powerful in our lives and our businesses is that integrity is also about reliability. So I would invite you to consider that:

  • Integrity is about doing what you promised to do,
  • when you promised to do it – no exceptions
  • Integrity is about not making excuses for promises broken
  • Integrity is about taking responsibility and owning up to others when we have gone back on what we said we would do
  • Integrity is about being honest and truthful even when that’s not popular or comfortable

We can be out of integrity with others, but just as much with ourselves. I know the numerous times I have promised to do something good for myself, and I don’t. Consider for a moment: if we can’t keep our promises to ourselves, how can we do it with others…??

I have found that when I restore my integrity and follow through on my promises to myself and others, I have a sense of freedom and openness that was not there before. All I am doing is acknowledging that this is important to me and I am re-choosing to do it.  If I have a promise to someone else that I have not made good on, then I communicate that to that person, honestly, and make sure that, from that point on, I follow through on my word.

Our lives flourish when we live from a place of integrity,  so why not make it easier on yourself and others, keep your promises, it enables you and others the freedom to be the best that you and they can be.

1. List the areas of your life where you have some broken promises, or promises not fulfilled- be honest, but don’t beat yourself up, you are just taking a look.
2. Now go through your list and choose the top three promises that would be most beneficial for you to restore, either a promise to yourself or to others.  If you have more than 3 on your list, make a promise to yourself to keep going back to your list.
3. Continue to notice where in your life you are in integrity and where not, and decide to act out of integrity, and see what happens.


Comments { 0 }


I often hear that work is a means to an end for people. They do it so that they can earn enough money to do other things. What a shame to spend so much of your time doing something which doesn’t have any intrinsic fulfilment!

Yet we also come across all sorts of people doing all sorts of jobs who do feel that their work is worthwhile. What’s the difference? These people have found something to make their work purposeful.

Ways of making your work purposeful can be identified by asking yourself:

  1. How does what I do make a difference in the world? For example you may be contributing to a service or product that improves people’s lives.
  2. How does what I do help other people? For example you may help to make their job easier, or make them feel good by treating them well.
  3. How does what I do use my talents and personal qualities? For example, you may be good at communicating and use that to please your customers, or someone whose sense of humour lightens the day for others.

When our work feels purposeful, we give of our best, and feel satisfaction with what we are doing. It gives meaning to all those hours spent at work. What is the purpose for you of your work?


  1. Ask yourself the questions above and find at least one thing that makes your work feel purposeful.
  2. Encourage others to do the same.


Comments { 0 }