Installment 5: CEOWorld Article Series By James M. Kerr - Common Decency Leads to Success

This, our final installment, of my Decency Series focuses on discussing why decency matters today and leads to business success.

You can be an exceptional leader and act decently at the same time.

Leadership and common decency are not mutually exclusive ideas. It is up to us to bring common decency back to business.

We set the bar when is comes to exemplifying what decency, dignity and a strong sense of propriety looks like in our businesses. Too mnay leaders feel comfortable operating in support of parochial interests — even if those interest run counter to doing what’s “right” for the business. Who wants to follow someone like that?

Here are a few tips to consider should you choose to want to lead with decency in mind:

  1. Recognize that leadership is not about you. It’s about those you lead. So, put your ego is in the back seat and stop so much emphasis on making yourself look good. Instaed, work at palcing the needs of your team ahead of your own.
  2. Stop needing to win so much. While many of us are programmed to “win,” we must recognize that that “need” can undercut our ability to operate decently. An alternative, is to seek satisfaction in developing a high performance team that operates with the highest level of integrity.
  3. Learn to feed forward. This means focusing on providing advice on what your team can do today to improve in the future. After all, we can’t change what has happened in the past. However, we can choose to make changes in the future.
  4. Apply the Decency Acid Test. Inspired by Harry Kraemer, former Chairman and CEO of Baxter International, the Decency Acid Test is asking these two questions of oursleves before we pursue a decision that we’re not sure about:

– Am I doing what I think is the right thing to do?

– Am I doing my best?

If you answer “yes” to both, you’re likely operating decently. If not, it’s time to reevaluate your decision.

Business Decency: It All Comes Down to The Golden Rule

Bringing common decency back to business requires that we actually begin to live, and behave, by the Golden Rule. When we treat people in the way that we would have wanted to be treated should the roles be reversed, we will have brought decency back to business.

To close, if you’d like some help with developing dececny among your leaders, reach out. We’ve developed an leadership coaching to program that can help your high potentials and current leadership team keep deceny top-of-mind.

Note: This entry is based on my CEOWorld article, published on September 26, 2020 in its Executive Checklist section.