Many experts agree that a boss is someone who simply manages employees and tasks, while a leader is someone who inspires, motivates, and guides their team towards a common goal. A boss may rely on their positional authority to get things done, while a leader earns respect and influence through their actions and character.
A genuine leader can create an environment that fosters ethical behavior and promotes a culture of integrity and compliance within the organization.
Ethics and compliance require a consistency between one’s speech on ethical standards and one’s actions. Employees are more likely to follow guidelines and make the right decisions when they see their leaders leading by example.
Consistency Is The Key
When leaders act with integrity, follow laws and regulations, and adhere to ethical standards, it establishes a culture of compliance within the organization. Employees are more likely to emulate their leaders’ behavior and prioritize compliance in their own actions.
Buy-in begins at the upper level; without it, there can be no expectation that your employees will follow, understand, or comply with the laws and regulations governing the business’ industry.
Let’s say the CEO delivers a speech to the company’s employees emphasizing the importance of compliance with all laws, regulations, and internal policies. However, the CEO is observed engaging in behavior that contradicts the principles of compliance and ethical conduct.
People witnessing the CEO deliberately not complying with the company’s plant traffic rules every single day could be concerning and may raise ethical and compliance concerns.
The leader daily taking a shortcut and driving in the wrong direction, on a one-way road in the company’s plant, set a detrimental example by displaying lack of integrity, disregarding rules, lowering employee morale, and posing legal and reputational risks. Needless to say how hard was the compliance officer’s task to implement and maintain the compliance program in that company.
It is essential for leaders, including and especially the CEO, to demonstrate consistent behavior that aligns with the compliance principles and values they promote within the organization to maintain trust, integrity, and a culture of compliance.
Less Blah Blah Blah And More Action
When leaders consistently demonstrate their commitment to compliance and ethical conduct through their words and actions, it sends a powerful message to employees that compliance is a top priority.
Demonstrating a compliance culture goes beyond mere words and involves tangible actions, strong evidence, and behaviors that reflect the organization’s commitment to compliance.
Leaders that believe and say out loud the company has controls in place without verifying their actual effectiveness can be detrimental to the organization. It may reflect overconfidence, lack of awareness, reliance on assumptions, resistance to change, lack of accountability, or overemphasis on cost savings.
When leadership understands the requirements, they support and enforce an effective compliance program with appropriate ways to measure it.
When employees see leaders taking compliance as seriously as it deserves, they see a purpose and motive behind their leadership’s actions.
Inspect What You Expect
The phrase is something taught in many military leadership schools. When someone states that a room or rifle has to be cleaned to a certain standard, that same leader has an obligation to inspect the outcome. (Additionally, their space and gear must be held to the same standard.) Regarding fostering a compliance culture, leadership teams must monitor their business’s culture. It has a dual-pronged effect because it allows one to ensure the talk is being walked and discover when something is not going the way one expects.
You want to find the pain points and identify weak spots because they allow you to enhance your company’s credibility.
Believe in Compliance Prae Venire helps companies implement compliance programs that can be put into action effectively. Businesses that overlook the importance of building a robust program put themselves at risk of legal sanctions, financial losses, and reputational damage. Contact Prae Venire to learn how we can assist your organization with its specific needs.