Practices That Dull Competence and Integrity

Competence is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. Competence is fundamental to efficiency, good work and performance.

Integrity is the state of being whole and undivided. This requires honesty, and having strong and unified principles. Integrity is essential for teamwork, quality and customer service.

Why highlight these two traits?Og

  • A lack of competence results in work that consistently misses the mark.
  • A lack of integrity creates silos in communication and cooperation, putting the work before (instead of for) the customer.

An organization is dysfunctional when it doesn’t value competence and integrity.

Competence and integrity are unappreciated in workplaces where performance is only measured in numbers. Such environments “dull” people’s ability to practice competence and integrity.

Here are three common culprits.

Micromanagement. People are told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, leaving no room for thinking. Add shifting priorities and the employee’s initiative is deflated. When individual thinking and initiative are not valued, there is no room competence. Worse, when thinking is removed from job performance, so is integrity.

“At All Costs” Tasks. When tasks are assigned without boundaries, none are respected, and norms (integrity) go out the window. When the outcome is more highly valued than the method, competence loses its meaning.

Weak Culture. When an organization has no common sense of its values, or the values are only weakly or circumstantially applied, integrity is impossible. There is nothing to unify around. If the culture is weak, standards are also, and there is little framework to define or support competence.

Competence and integrity suffer in environments where there are too many rules. They also suffer when there are no rules.

An organization’s strongly focused and practiced vision, values and culture create a framework of trust that allows employees to practice competence and integrity in the creation of stronger solutions, better outcomes, and continuously improving results for customers.

“Trust is a function of two things: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, your motive and your intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, and your track record. Both are vital.”

— Stephen R. Covey

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