The “Integrity Police” is a Useful Person to Have on a Team

When was the last time you were “called” on something by the Integrity Police? Guess what, whenever you or anyone else on a team chooses to play this role, you can make a major contribution to the team.

While conducting research on partnering between groups or among organizations, my fellow researchers and I discovered there’s often at least one member of a well-functioning group who’s story is, “I never know which direction I’m going to be pointing my finger when I come to work. Some days, I’m addressing my own company saying, ‘We can’t do that to our partners!’ Other days, I’m facing our partners and saying, ‘Don’t treat us that way!”

The folks who occupy these self-appointed roles are important assets in the maintenance of relationship between partners. In our research, they’re often called the “Integrity Police.”

Integrity Police display three primary characteristics:

  1. They have an endless capacity to record, cross-check, and remember all explicit agreements and implicit expectations each party holds for its partner(s).
  2. They exhibit extraordinary mindfulness of the vulnerabilities exposed just by entering a partnership. And they sound the alarm whenever one partner’s actions threatens to violate another person’s interests or boundaries.
  3. They suffer irrepressible urges to “call it” when any party initiates action that could violate a partner.

Such people have extraordinary Leadership Gift skills! From them, we can all learn the importance of discovering “what’s in it” for each of our teammates. And not just so we can help them get their outcome!

Remaining mindful of the scope of primary interests helps everyone on a team protect their outcomes from other team members’ self-absorbed and/or potentially unintegrated actions.

Get Started With This Week’s 5-Minute Stretch

For one or more of your collaborative relationships, make a quick mental inventory of each partner’s interests. Then inventory the explicit agreements and implicit partnering expectations, and match your lists to these questions:

  1. Are anyone’s interests being violated (intentionally or not)?
  2. If so, what’s the most productive way to “call” the offender(s)?
  3. What gaps need closing in participants’ awareness of each party’s interests and vulnerabilities, relationship expectations and agreements?

If necessary, start a clean-up effort today!

What kind of issues do you face at work? Dialogue is a powerful tool for clarification! Please comment to share your insights or ask a question about this or other posts.

Want more integrity in your teams at work? You can claim it at Creating Results Based Teams. Or you might prefer Leading and Coaching People to Take Responsibility and Demonstrate Ownership. And of course, for maximum personal and professional impact, join the Leadership Gift Program.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

Posted in Teamwork on 08/03/2012 11:00 am
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