I believe in having mentors. During the day, at random times and in various situations, I will be reminded of something that a mentor has impressed upon me at some point in my life. These “snapshots” will often help me think through how to handle a particular situation or struggle that I am going through. Something that I have been reminded of lately is what one of my late mentors told me several years ago:
“Handle business so that you do not have to look back.”
The idea here is that when you act with integrity you don’t have to try to remember what you said to someone, because you have conducted yourself in an upright and honest manner. There will be no need for deception, backpedaling, broken promises, because you will have been forthright, transparent and above reproach. Simply put, you won’t need a rearview mirror.
Unfortunately, this is not how many leaders and managers conduct themselves. In an effort to “get ahead” and construct and maintain their public image, many are willing to do and say anything – and to walk over anyone – to promote themselves. The irony is that in an effort to “make a name for themselves,” they sacrifice their own good name.
Whether you are in a leadership position or not, you will be tempted to make unethical choices. You will be tempted to be dishonest. And often, the payoff may seem too good to turn down. But, sowing seeds of deception will lead to corruption. It may happen now, it may happen later… but it will happen.
So, the next time you are faced with a decision that requires you to sacrifice your integrity to gain a temporary prize… break off the rear view mirror and roll on.