Leading with Integrity & Authenticity

with Dr. Mike Horne

Mike Horne, PhD coaches leaders to avoid, minimize and reduce poor outcomes related to people and culture actions and decisions. Mike is advancing Authentic Leadership in the world, coaching leaders to close the gap between probable and possible, and to bring their best in every situation to spur innovation. Mike is the author of Integrity by Design: Working and Living Authentically.

Inside This Episode

  • The 2 Keys to Leading with Integrity & Authenticity
  • The Nearly Irrevocable Cost of Lying
  • Recovering When There is a Break of Trust
  • Common Barriers to Authenticity
  • What To Do If Your Organization Is Out of Alignment
  • Facing the Realities of Corporate Culture
  • Why We Need to Make The Grass Greener Where We Are
  • Using Values to Scale A Growth-Based Culture
  • The Single Most Important Word You Need to Create Authentic Relationships
  • Delivering Constructive Feedback
  • A Simple Question From Edie Seashore To Expand Your Empathy


Website: https://mike-horne.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikehorne1/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikehorneauthor

Book: https://mike-horne.com/#ibd-book

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John Ryan
You're listening to key conversations for leaders. This is episode number 58. Hey everybody and welcome to key conversations for leaders. I'm your host, John Ryan. And today we're very special guest Dr. Mike Horne, my coaches leaders to avoid, minimize and reduce poor outcomes related to people and culture actions and decisions. Mike is advancing authenticity leadership in the world by coaching leaders to close the gap between probable and possible and to bring the very best in every situation to spur innovation. Mike is the author of integrity by design, working living authentically. Thanks so much for being here, Mike. appreciate having you here.

Mike Horne 0:36
Hi, john, I'm so delighted to be here with you and your audience today.

John Ryan 0:40
Wonderful. You know, Mike, in your work. You talk about authenticity, and integrity, would you mind taking a moment and just helping us to really understand what those terms mean to you, especially after your research into these concepts?

Mike Horne 0:54
Sure, absolutely. Because there are different yet related concepts. And we can explore them in a few ways. But first, maybe it's some definitions around them, right? To provide a bit of a framework. That's about right.

John Ryan 1:09
That's exactly what I'm hoping for. Yeah.

Mike Horne 1:11
Okay. When I think about integrity, and when we think about integrity, we think about something that is of whole cloth. It's the genuine article. It's as if, if I was an engineer, or a structural engineer, I might say that everything hangs together. And integrity is a construct or concept, john, that gets tested over time. And it develops over time. It's different when you're a pre teenager versus when you're in your 20s versus in your 30s. And later in life, I think about integrity sometimes as the musical notes that happen over the course of a lifetime. But it's the sense that I'm dealing with a genuine article. When I think about authenticity, I think about my words, and my actions align, and even better yet, my thoughts, words and actions, align the ABCs, attitudes, behaviors, and cognitions. Everything's in alignment.

Mike Horne 2:19
And when that happens, and this is the word I like to use with, with authenticity, it's congruency that when my thoughts words and actions align, the result is that I produce sustained happiness. I don't mean the kind of happiness that comes with finding a new boyfriend or girlfriend or partner or the kind that comes maybe with the birth of a child. But I mean, this sort of happiness. And what we know and why this is so important, is that people enjoy working with and for happy people. Life is better, happier. But one of my mentors used to say that he thought the purpose of coaching was to reduce suffering. It's more of a Buddhist approach, I think of it as you know, increasing happiness. So, you know, that's one thing that comes to mind when I think about the concepts of integrity, and authenticity. And on this path of authentic leadership. You know, it's so important, because at the core of authentic leadership is trust, building a trusting relationship, and I don't think you've ever met a person where you've said, You know, I trust that I don't trust that person. Usually, when you think I don't trust that person, you think that person doesn't have integrity. Or if you say, oh, that person doesn't have integrity, you don't trust them, this concept all sort of get related on our path and our push to bring more of who we are to what we do, john,

John Ryan 3:54
that makes sense. So the integrity is the foundation of trust. And authenticity said is something related, when I is that a, there are overlapping ideas is that is that fair to say? Because I

Mike Horne 4:09
think, you know, Authenticity, given this congruency that we find it's affected by the kind of values you operate from, right? A set of humanistic values, I think, you know, works for me, because I don't know about your world, but I've encountered some authentic jerks. So I'm talking about starting from a place based on humanistic values, right, that I find dignity in everyone, I treat others with respect. I grow inclusion around me by having diverse ideas and diverse people around me. And these are all the things that that create a place for all of us to bring more of who we are to what we do and, you know, I often ask people Where can you be more authentic at work or at home? The predictable answers, people say, oh, not at work. Right. So there's just so much left on the table, right? People feel that they can be more who they are at home and less so at work. I look, I'm not adverse to. And I'm not blind to all of the isms that apply in workplaces, in groups and teams. And we need to create cultures where our desires to bring more of who we are to what we do match are intense.

John Ryan 5:36
So there's layers of implication. And what I'm hearing one is that integrity, the alignment of attitudes, behaviors, and cognitions, thoughts, feelings, emotions, behaviors, values, alignment as well, that's great for a happiness, internal fulfillment kind of thing. But you're also extending into the leadership role is that also people want to follow people who are happy, who have that integrity and authenticity, and you know what you're getting. Because if you don't have that you don't have trust, and you really don't have a very good relationship as well.

Mike Horne 6:08
Right? And, you know, sometimes people ask me, well, I said, Okay, and I always laugh at that question. You know, why are you asking me that, but what I do know, based on observation, as consultant, as an executive in some very large global corporations, is that when an executive or when a person, a manager tells a lie, it's difficult to recover. It's not impossible. But it starts to erode trust. And that makes it difficult to produce remarkable results.

John Ryan 6:50
I can see that. So that is not that that's necessarily your focus is how to maybe it is part of your focus is how to rebuild that trust afterwards, if someone has a misstep, and they say one thing, and it's not accurate, and they erode the trust, they have I imagined that can take quite a long to repair that because people have long memories, especially the more significant It is, in terms of their world.

Mike Horne 7:12
I think you have to think about all of this as having recovery. And I think there's are skills that executives and leaders employ, in order to invite people in to trust more, to read again, look, a lot of the people that I work with a lot of the executives that I work with C suite leaders, and aspiring folks getting to the C suite. These are people who advanced because of their smarts, their technical expertise, not their leadership. You know, despite what social science research tells us that, you know, we should select for leadership qualities, not technical expertise, most of the folks that I work with are technical experts. And they're very accomplished, and they've been driven by excellence, and hard work. And a lot of these kinds of skills that are required to lead authentically need to be developed, need to be re awakened, need to be established around goals. Because these people don't want to find themselves out of touch and everything that's going on in the world in terms of the great resignation taking place. People saying, you know, what's in it for me to come back to this environment, not everyone, right, but those who are privileged and lucky to have these situations, we're gonna need leaders who connect better with people more authentically with people, and who can lean in to accomplish great things.

John Ryan 8:52
You identify that people obviously find it much easier to be more authentic at home than they do at work. What are the biggest barriers that we have to being authentic and taking that risk? Obviously, you said there's the authentic jerks who are not necessarily having the humanistic values, but to really because I imagine there's some vulnerability and some risk involved in in being authentic, or is that an illusion? Perhaps?

Mike Horne 9:15
I don't think it's an illusion, but we'd have to fire over, you know, however many managers there are in America, what 12 million managers, they would require, like retraining and attire and I don't think anybody's prepared for that. So we have to think about ways that we can let go of some of our old ideas about leadership, which, you know, is happening. If one thing the you know, global pandemic has brought us it's, it's accelerated some of the shifts that were happening in the workplace already, right. What about the five day workweek? a lot about you know, working from home, what about working remotely? What about you know, your need to see me all of these concepts are in shift and in flux. And that puts us in a demand for leaders who have to do two things, you know, at the base, maybe to demonstrate their authenticity, if I was to, you know, shape the construct in two ideas, one would be, you've got to care. You got to show that you care if you don't care. And the second thing is, you've got to be willing to do the work. And this is, you know, with the folks with whom I'm privileged to work with, you know, they're often able to get to that second corner, which is to say, you know, I'm willing to do some work on this, because I don't want to find myself on the outside looking at

John Ryan 10:46
when people care, and when they do the work when they have those two qualities. What is the downside that they might experience along the way? What are the risks that they're experiencing when they are doing the work and they're being vulnerable? And in going down that path?

Mike Horne 11:03
The downside is called learning and growth. Awesome. I think that's, you know, more of an upside, usually, sure. We're, you know, we're conditioned, I think, as adults to believe that learning is fun, right? There used to be corporate euphemisms, you know, if you, you know, if you can't make it just fake it, right? Learning isn't fun. Most learning that I've engaged in, that I've helped others with, it's full of anxiety, it's full of stress. It's, but you know, if you get as one of my mentors used to say, in grave danger of growing, and this is why we, you know, need helpers along the way and confident, competent people are able to ask for help.

John Ryan 11:53
That makes sense. So, when someone is on that path, are there any indications or things they should look out if they're not being authentic? Or if perhaps, the culture at large is not in alignment with the corporate values?

Mike Horne 12:09
Well, corporations are generally displeasing, to most of us, I think. I'll tell you, Ma, you know, I had an illusion, earlier in life, that organizations were Paragons of virtue, that they were about mission, purpose. group work, teamwork. You know, all.

John Ryan 12:34
Wait, Mike, that's not true.

Mike Horne 12:36
I, you know, I learned early that organizations I you know, and that's what attracted me to the field of organization development, organization behavior. I mean, that belief about the possibility to make out of our differences, great, you know, great creativity, what you learn, I think, is that organizations are full of politics and backstabbing, and, you know, the need to grow, and grow and grow and grow and grow more, I think all of us we have to put into balance with, you know, what it really takes to succeed.

John Ryan 13:12
So, you broke that illusion? I'm guessing, and you've come to recognize that okay, not all as it seems in, in corporate America, I imagine you got to believe that that things can change. And of course, we're not going to wipe the slate clean and start over. But we're going to work with what we have now. Is there hope to have a more authentic workforce where people can express and be in alignment on those levels you talked about earlier?

Mike Horne 13:37
JOHN, you can always make the grass greener where you are. I don't say I know, I know. It should, I should live it Mike. You can usually make the grass greener where you are. Not always but you can usually make the grass greener where you are. And I don't think I've ever encountered with one exception, a leader who wasn't concerned about growth. And you know, organizations are all enterprises, human enterprise. And growth, you know, at at its at its best in a team members Express, you know, great care for the personal professional growth of each other. And that can scale and that can replicate, you know, can replicate from a team of eight to a an organization of some size. If people if leaders have the values discussion.

John Ryan 14:43
Imagine it's got to be more than the discussion because so many companies have had the values conversation and they print them out and they have posters everywhere, but the behaviors don't align which is integrity, which exactly what you're talking about. So I imagine it's got to translate into the action part.

Mike Horne 14:59
Oh, Sure, I mean, there's so many great examples. I mean, the classic example, is Enron, the number one value in Enron was integrity. That didn't work out too well for them. We saw that repeated at Wells Fargo, where integrity was a corporate value. What are they on their fourth CEO now in the last few years, I'm not sure, you can see it in the shift of how executive compensation and golden parachutes have now been transformed in the United States and in other places, where even inappropriate conduct doesn't prevent or preclude the payout of a large golden parachute. And there, you know, look at the McDonald's CEO look at one of the United Airlines see, you know, we've come to sometimes I think, different terms are different concepts of this. And yet, you know, we're need to remain empathetic and empathic with one another.

John Ryan 16:04
Are there any things any suggestions or guidelines you'd recommend for leaders who want to bring one to be more authentic for themselves? And also create a culture of authenticity, integrity? Say, hello. That simple?

Mike Horne 16:19
Yeah, it's our oldest and best technology. When I, you know, I think often we're good, you know, so tied up in our work that we see each other as elements of production, you know, cogs in the wheel, hamsters on the wheel? And, you know, it's not really well, you know, john, how are you? It's China, I need this, you know, I need this report, I need this thing. And that keeps it at a pretty transactional level. But I don't know what happened to you, john, you know, five minutes before we met, or what will happen to you 10 minutes after we conclude today. But I do know that I have this moment in time with you right now. And the easiest way to start that is to say hello to you. Hello, love it. Yeah.

John Ryan 17:10
When there are difficult conversations, let's say, feedback performance. And of course, there's different realms and spectrums of directness, indirectness, and things like that as well.

Mike Horne 17:21
You're a smart guy on this, you teach this, I mean, you've got to remember, are still around this, right?

John Ryan 17:26
Sure. I love talking about communication and feedback. That's what you know, learning growth is all about how to best inspire and motivate others is there. If someone's being authentic, and they have integrity, and they're coming at it with, let's say, a positive intention? Should there be any, like framing? And like, you know, hand holding? Or can you get straight to the point? Or do we have to really consider the best way to get through to this person in that moment, versus me just saying, Hey, I'm just being authentic and saying, What's true for me?

Mike Horne 17:59
Right? So self awareness is great. And it's a cornerstone to authentic leadership to the development of authentic leadership so that you can use yourself, you can use your agency, you can have yourself available to us, young Carl Jung, this was a psychoanalyst, I think, said it best. One is that the greatest privilege in a lifetime is becoming the person you are becoming who you are. Secondly, that the ability to accept your current state is so important, fundamental to any change. And that Thirdly, in you know, in order to make growth in order to make progress, I mean, we accept this state of where we are.

John Ryan 18:56
So it's, it's an acceptance of what is yet the inherent desire to be more, and being okay with where you are and where you're going along the way. Am I hearing that?

Mike Horne 19:07
Sure. I think so. Right? I mean, most people come to me, I think, or come to this approach, because, one, they're dealing with issues of scale. Right. And, you know, maybe I'm a manager and now a manager of managers, maybe leaving a division in an organization. So they have skill issues. Oftentimes, they have, you know, feedback issues, issues of which they're not completely or quite aware, and they and they need some help to address those issues. And then at other times, people have executives have personal goals that they want to achieve right. They want to be more effective in their development of others. They want to be improved. In their, in their ability to help others to chart goals. So I think all of that, you know, conspires to create cases or approaches for this possibility of growth and development. No innovation happens without that.

John Ryan 20:21
To the last part again, please, sorry, no innovation happens without that, you know, you know, yeah. Excellent. Thank you so much. And thank you for the performance

Mike Horne 20:30
variance, which is often such a, you know, I'll give you feedback and point out your deficiencies, despite, again, you know, working with people strengths and, and, and, and a focus on that, I think our abilities are often geared more to find fault with others in organizations.

John Ryan 20:50
I can appreciate it. So it's almost against our own predisposition to to focus on the strengths that we inherently go towards the negative, do you think that's part of our own psychology, I

Mike Horne 20:59
think for a lot of executives, natural born problem solvers, natural born decision makers, people who are in hurry to succeed. You know, this is why it's so important, you know, focus on interpersonal relationships and getting the right people together on a team or in a group for work that can be, you know, just extraordinary.

John Ryan 21:26
Excellent. Like, just one last question. You know, here are key conversations for leaders who believe that conversations are a key to growth change and communicating the integrity and authenticity that we have. Can you think or would you mind share with us like a conversation perhaps that you've had other personally professionally had a profound impact on you in your life?

Mike Horne 21:50
The question was, you know, what, if you did care, from my mentor, etc, shore was a legend in the human potential movement in ngl. And probably trained gave bet Bradford, one of your recent podcast guests. Sure. I remember being in a group with Ed at one point, and I said, I don't care about that, or whatever. And the question about, you know, what, if you did care? I think it ignited a lifetime of learning for me.

John Ryan 22:28
Amazing, simple, elegant. What a gift. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. And thank you for sharing that with us and our listeners. Yeah. Well,

Mike Horne 22:36
I often think about feedback, john, too. And I know we're at a close. But you know, some of talking about the feedback being the breakfast of champions is to use an old pray. But one of the things that I learned as well from the seashores was that feedback often says more about the giver than it does the receiver. And there's some truth to that. So, you know, what we do to help others in this great, you know, profession of coaching and is the ability that ask for feedback, you know, to inquire of somebody, well, how am I, you know, because it really helps you to learn about the other person, what can be more important than developing a meaningful, productive, relevant and inspiring relationship with another person?

John Ryan 23:22
absolutely worth it as an atom addendum. JOHN, thank you so much. Thank you for indulging me in that, of course. No, I appreciate it. I could talk to you for hours. And I know it's definitely coming to our time. A quick question, what is the best way for our viewers and listeners to get in touch with you and find out more about your work and authenticity, integrity,

Mike Horne 23:41
www.Mike-horne.com. That'll point you in all of my directions. And for those on social media, you'll find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook in tune into my podcast, authentic change with my corn, but you'll find out all about it at www.mike-horne.com. Excellent.

John Ryan 24:03
I'll put a link to all of those social media platforms in our notes as well. And Dr. Mike, thanks so much for being here. It's been a pleasure.

Mike Horne 24:10
Thank you, john. I've so enjoyed our time together. And thank you.

John Ryan 24:15
And for those of you watching and listening until next time, develop yourself, empower others and lead by example. Thanks for listening to key conversations for leaders with your host John Ryan. If you enjoy the show, please let us know. Give us a rating or write a review. And if you'd like to connect with me and other like minded leaders, I invite you to join our Facebook group called Develop, Empower and Lead where I deliver free live training every week. If you go to www.developempowerlead.com It will redirect you right there. Hope to see you there soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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