Integrity Matters Broadcasts

April 2, 2004

Attribute #4 - AUTHORITY: employee encouragement.
Are you able to correct a customer problem?
Do you have confidence that your actions will be supported?

*from Bracher Center's Eight Attributes for Building an Integrity-Centered Company

Dear Friends,

The topic this month is authority and it is tied closely to the level of trust that exists between and among employees throughout an organization. Trust, built upon relationships, sustained by competence and leveraged through productive efforts, is at the heart of how authority is exercised. When authority is managed effectively, and everyone up and down the line knows what is expected in terms of commitments to deliver integrity-centered service, then productivity rises. Authority is what needs to be clearly communicated to confident, talented and consistently high-performing employees. Performance can be improved when front-line employees understand their problem-resolving authority. Authority and autonomy go hand in hand, reflecting leadership's trust in the individuals hired, educated, trained, and promoted. Appropriate levels of authority enable those who face problems to fix them with integrity.

Here are two illustrations to ponder: an ineffective way and an effective way to establish authority. The first illustration is from the Integrity Matters column of March 31, 2004. Example two is from the March 24, 2004, Integrity Matters column about ways to increase the odds of recruiting and retaining the highest caliber of talent, capable of exercising integrity-centered authority responsibly.

Illustration #1: AN INEFFECTIVE WAY

Click Here to read the full Integrity Matters column (published March 31, 2004)

Illustration #2: AN EFFECTIVE WAY

Click Here to read the full Integrity Matters column (published March 24, 2004)


"When selecting individuals to join an organization, or entrusting them with the responsibilities of leadership, one must value:

Integrity above motivation,
Motivation above capacity,
Capacity above wisdom,
Wisdom above experience,
Experience above knowledge, and
Knowledge above training.

What must be known and considered
is not a list of claimed positions or achievements, but
the qualities and characteristics of the person.”

*source unknown

organizational and interpersonal application – strengthening teams*

When individuals:

Understand the required skill sets to make their team productive,
Are valued by and bring value to the organization,
Are committed to the vision, mission and strategy, and
Are signed-on to the organization's supported behavior and culture,
then no issue can polarize the group or create destructive behaviors.

*Developed by James F. Bracher, November 18, 1994

As was learned recently from a project conducted with young people, from the Boys and Girls Clubs here in Monterey County, California, children and teens understand what authority means. When they were asked to define the proper and effective use of authority, here are their four responses, indented with bullets in blue:

AUTHORITY: employee encouragement.
Are you able to correct a customer problem?
Do you have confidence that your actions will be supported?

  • Use common sense to do the right thing.
  • Know that you have the right to do something, to take action.
  • Explain when actions have been taken that might not fit with our Club's rules.
  • Listen, think and learn from what has been done right, and what has been done wrong.

With insights like these coming from local members of the Boys and Girls Clubs, the very same individuals who will become the next generation of leaders, we can maintain confidence that society will rebound from current ethical and moral challenges and be able to operate constructively and productively.

Click Here to read the full article:
"Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County, California applying Eight Attributes of an Integrity-Centered Company"

INTEGRITY MATTERS, by Bracher and Halloran, hits bookstore shelves on May 3.


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