No business in the bedroom, but don’t be mum in the boardroom.

executive search firm south africa – pinpoint one human resources

executive search firms south africa
executive search firms south africa
executive search firms south africa
How honest are we really? It’s not a trick question, but perhaps the most profound one all of us will have to answer this year – and every year. If we are really honest with ourselves, we aren’t that honest with others. pinpoint one human resources, an executive search firm in south africa, shares their expertise.

As an executive search firm in South Africa, pinpoint one human resources shares our expertise regarding this topic.
It isn’t always our fault; sometimes boardrooms are little like a scene in George Orwell’s 1984. The statements are there, but like Big Brother’s Ministry of Truth, they mean the exact opposite. If you have been in one, you will know what I am saying.

I do not know how many times I’ve heard blue chip companies looking for candidates who are ‘brave’ or ‘brutally ethical’. Who are filled with ‘courageous integrity’. It’s probably about the same number of times. I’ve seen directors and senior managers whose body language screams that they do not agree with a decision and stay silent. Then when the meeting is over and the chair has left, all the managers and executives start speaking freely among themselves.

They all moan about the decision that was just made. Yet none of them had the courage to speak out. If they had opened their mouths then maybe the company would not have ended up in stormy waters within the same financial year.

Then there are those managers and executives who just can’t keep their mouths shut. Anything seems to be fair game. From letting the cat out of the bag about who was shortlisted for a job – or who got it – or who is about to be retrenched.

Being ethical means being brave.

Opening your mouth and taking the consequences. Whether that is open disapproval or a black mark against your name when you are due for a promotion or a contract renewal.

It’s very hard to be honest and it’s very painful. My mom used to say, ‘the truth or die’. Metaphorically of course, before she gave us a hiding if she caught us lying. The same should apply today, but it doesn’t. Sometimes it is because people are fearful of speaking out. Or, thanks to working from home and switching off the cameras and muting their mics on virtual meetings, they have already become used to living lives of deception.

executive search firm south africa

It doesn’t matter how small the lie begins, it always grows. If you’re terrified of being caught out, you have to keep adding to the lies. You must also be consistent, at the same time. It’s a terrible position to find yourself in. Yet so many people are doing it. I have come across this deceit with candidates too. They are suddenly unavailable to attend meetings. They would rather do an interview remotely because they have already taken another job. Now they want to get a physical offer of employment from a third party to squeeze their new employer into giving them a raise.

The little lies creep in all over the place. Like employees saying they have called clients, even though the easiest thing for you to do is to call the client themselves to check that. I have seen the same deceit further up the ladder. People breaking confidences that should remain between executives, sharing them with people who have no right to know – and then bluntly denying they did.

The solution is Honesty

Get back to basics. Honesty means owning up to your own failings not trying to cover them up or telling outright lies to protect yourself. Being honest means being brave and being ethical means speaking out when the situation demands it. Shutting up when you have no right to be sharing company confidences. If you can understand the difference and do it right, you will be an asset to your company. You will be a person of principle who can be trusted with greater responsibilities and therefore receive greater rewards.

It is not an easy road to travel. Many boardrooms don’t like dissent. I ask the hard questions, because that is how I’m wired, but I also get told to shut up and sit down because I’m not part of the company. I’ve heard C-suite members tell colleagues, ‘integrity is not a currency’.

Speaking to many candidates, I often ask if they ever had an opportunity to blow the whistle on wrongdoing they uncovered. Many have had that experience. Many have reported it to their line supervisors or even the board. Many have been persuaded by those same superiors to shut up and say nothing more because it goes against company culture. Or because there’ll be collateral damage if they push too hard.

So, what does that say about our country?

How can we moan about the catastrophe that Eskom has become? Or the inability of government to act, when our own private sector leaders and managers are doing exactly the same thing? If you are a parent, how can you expect exemplary behaviour from your children, conduct to a standard that you can’t even be bothered to maintain?

Never before have Mahatma Gandhi’s words rung so true: If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.

We have to become the change we want to see in others and in society. We have to start doing the same here. People actually do respect others who tell the truth. They respect those who are not gossipmongers and who uphold the values of the team. People with ethics, people with principle are high value assets. Integrity actually is a currency when it comes to the long-term effects on your CV.

So, this year, speak up when you have to – and in the correct forum. Don’t just do it for yourself, do it for your colleagues and, if you have them, for your children too. They all need real role models to look up to and that’s your job too.

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lucia mabasa
lucia mabasa - managing director of pinpoint one human resources