In August, I talked about core value 5 and the importance of striving to be a part of the solution through self-improvement, growth, and adaptability. Today, we’re taking a deeper look at core value number 6. GOLD’s sixth core value is: I will conduct every interaction with openness, integrity, and honesty.

Phew, this is quite the core value to unpack if I say so myself. Openness, integrity, and honesty—they’re small but mighty words that are jampacked with a whole lot of meaning, right? From the time we were all young children, our parents and guardians have played a critical role in our lives to shape our behaviors and instill us with proper moral values in hopes that they stick with us as we grow and make our way in the world. Being open and honest and having integrity are valuable qualities to possess and they can be traced back to what we may have learned and observed growing up. These kinds of values may very well stand out now as we implement and follow them in our professional careers today.

Openness at Work 

Openness has countless meanings. But when it comes to openness at the workplace, it means allowing ourselves to be open in terms of how we share and receive information and having an openness and appreciation for others’ differences such as work styles and opinions.  

Openness and transparency go hand in hand with one another. So, let’s dive a little deeper into workplace transparency for a moment. Workplace transparency can be defined as, “an organization that operates in a way that creates openness between managers and employees, and shares information freely in an effort that will benefit the company and its people as a whole.” The key to building a successful organization is one that fosters open communication and trust. When an organization is more transparent, employees and managers alike are able to connect on a deeper level in order to develop and maintain a more professional working relationship.

One important component that you must remember is that transparency starts from the top and trickles down. When transparency is evident in the workplace, not only will your team feel an increased sense of trust, but they will also feel more valued, engaged, and inspired to reach for success. And won’t those contribute to a more successful organization? Stronger company culture? A positive environment? One hundred percent!

One of my employees had once made a comment about this core value in particular that really made me stop and think for a moment. My employee said that this core value can be challenging because it can be viewed as confrontation, and confrontation can be uncomfortable. I think it’s because of the “conducting every interaction with openness” part of this core value. And while I hadn’t ever looked at this core value in this way, it really opened my eyes and stopped me in my tracks.

Being open doesn’t always come naturally to people, especially in a work environment and depending on whom you’re interacting with. Job titles may impact how open someone is willing to be, and as a result, their openness may crumble due to fear. But there’s absolutely no need to feel that way! We all have a voice, regardless of the position we hold within an organization. When your employees understand the role they play in your organization’s overall success, they will be more engaged and confident in their abilities because they will see what they do or say matters.

When we communicate and interact with others, we need to actively remember our differences. We all communicate and perceive information differently. No two of us are exactly the same, but isn’t that the beauty of it? If we were all the same, life would be pretty boring. When we actively accept and appreciate the differences between ourselves and those we interact with, I can guarantee that there will be less judgment. This in turn would lead to a healthier work environment that’s built on respect, acceptance, appreciation, and positivity.

The Importance of Integrity 

Integrity can be defined as, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles and a sense of moral uprightness.”

At work, you’re a leader; a role model. You set the stage for your company’s standards, and trust me, your employees are taking notes. Having integrity at the workplace means you are:

  • Reliable and Dependable: You show up on time, are motivated to work, and others know they can count on you and your work ethic.

  • Honest: You set the tone for your workplace behavior by building loyalty and trust among your team.

  • Trustworthy: You radiate and inspire trust, which is critical in any organization.

  • Respectful: You are respectful toward and patient with your employees, managers, and customers/clients/member and value their opinions.

  • A Decision-Maker and Problem Solver: You’ve got a can-do attitude and take on challenges.

  • Transparent: You share the good and not-so-good information about your company and how it affects you and your organization overall.  

When it comes to having integrity at work, it’s our responsibility to practice what we preach and always be a good example.

Honesty is the Best Policy 

Integrity means being honest, and honesty helps establish and maintain trust. And trust is the backbone of any successful organization.

Organizations are ever-changing—whether a company adopts a new set of core values, implements and updates their policies and procedures, or goes through structural changes—but one thing that will always remain unchanged is the value of honesty. I think I can speak on behalf of anyone out there by saying honesty will always be tremendously valued, especially in the workplace.

Like transparency, honesty must also start from the top and trickle down. Leaders must actively work on strengthening and encouraging their teams (and themselves!) to always be honest, no matter the situation. I am certain that we’ve all heard the saying, “Honesty is the best policy” before, and it’s truly one that should be held to a high standard—both personally and professionally. Being honest isn’t always easy, but it is what’s right and it goes a long way.

Honesty is a core component to building a healthy and successful organization. Honesty encourages each and every one of us to take responsibility for our work performance and actions. Honesty takes courage, especially in tough the situations that we may face in the workplace. But when you show and prove to your fellow coworkers, managers, and customers/clients/members that you are an honest and trustworthy person, they will remember you for it; they will respect you, know they can count on you, and be loyal to you.

Encourage Openness, Integrity, and Honesty 

When I think of this core value, I think of hope. I’m hopeful that all my employees will feel comfortable and inspired enough to be open, to have integrity, and to be honest. And I’m sure you feel the exact same way. But above all, you’ve got to remember that it starts with you. Your actions and performance are what sets the tone for your organization. Lead your team by setting a good example for communicating openly and authentically with integrity and honesty, support your team and their needs, and work consistently on improving and strengthening your company culture.

When you encourage your team members to hold openness, integrity, and honesty to the highest standard in the workplace, your employees and organization will flourish.

I’ll be back again next month with core value 7! 

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Cheryl Bartholomew

Cheryl Bartholomew

Cheryl is the President & CEO at GOLD since 2009 and has over 36 years of banking experience. She ensures the happiness of all Members through positive experiences that exceed their expectations, regardless of whether it's a simple phone call, electronic transaction, or face-to-face interaction. She strives to provide a positive work environment for her employees so they continue to go above and beyond for Members. She works closely with Member Volunteers (Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee) and makes sure they feel appreciated for their contributions in setting up our Members for success. Cheryl believes that all Members can be empowered to take control of their financial well-being, and she's proud to say that we at GOLD are confident in helping them do that.

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