In one-third of the projects we reviewed for this analysis we found management integrity to be a critical issue. This was based on the placement of the “management does not say one thing and do another” attribute in the quadrant analysis. We reviewed the comments of people who gave low scores on this item to gain insight into why people gave management low scores on this. We found three common themes.
- Perceptions of management dishonesty.
- Lack of follow through on commitments.
- Management setting a bad example.
It’s rather obvious to say management shouldn’t be dishonest, should follow through on commitments and shouldn’t set a bad example. What’s less obvious is the policies and procedures that need to be put in place to address these issues when “saying one thing and doing another” is found to be a problem. Clearly, the policies and procedures that should prevent these things are not working, if they exist at all.
The first step to addressing this is to identify which existing policies and procedures should prevent these problems. If you can’t find them, or if they don’t address the issue, you’ve found the beginning of the solution. If you find them and they seem to address the issue, the problem you have is that they aren’t being properly followed. In this case you need to set up a system of checks and balances.
For example, you might decide that any time a senior manager makes a promise in a company meeting, it is put in writing and the promise being fulfilled is made part of that manager’s performance appraisal. You might set up an online suggestion box for employees to report managers who consistently ignore company policies. It isn’t for us to say what will work in your particular culture; you know best. What is important is that the issue be addressed. If employees lose faith in management, nothing positive can result.