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Why every business needs a code of honour

To create a high-performance business everyone on your team needs to sing from the same hymn sheet.
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Let’s face it, no one likes a draconian manager. You know the type: They sit behind their desk, bellowing orders to an unmotivated workforce, with the only purpose to work fast, get paid and get out of the door. 

The true essence of leadership is to display a sense of servitude and dedication to one common goal or purpose. The more that your team see that you are leading alongside them and are committed to the job, the more likely they are to be on your side.

Developing a winning team is about recognising your leadership authority, but not shouting that authority at every point. That is why a code of honour is necessary for every business team. It’s not a set of values; rather it’s values extended into physical reality.

What is a code of honour?

A code of honour is a set of rules that govern the behaviour of all individuals on a team. The agreement that must be signed by all team members. With a code of honour, the rules of engagement are plain to see, and everyone, including the managerial team must abide by it. 

That’s right: even those in leadership must sign it. The code of honour is in place to ensure that all members of the team are ‘singing from the same page’, and because the rules are clearly defined, people can get pulled up on things if they are not adhered to.

Even the managerial team. If punctuality is written in your code of honour (which it should be), a manager who is late for a meeting will be called out by a team member. That’s pointing it out in an elegant way.

An examples of codes:

  1. ‘Always be on time by being early’. This code covers punctuality and completing projects; and
  2. ‘Mission first, team second, individual third’. Have you ever witnessed two people having a major disagreement? This code gets them to think through the reality and importance of the position they are holding onto so tightly. Is it really about the mission (e.g. the goal or even the project) or is it their own ego that has taken over?

Why is a code of honour so important?

What happens in the absence of rules? People play by their own rules. 

The code of honour addresses that. In a business, excellence should be a priority. The code of honour helps to create a culture of excellence, whilst holding everyone to task. In my company, we have a mission first policy, which means that we must be committed to doing whatever it takes to get the job done, as long as it is legally and morally correct. 

A code of honour is important because it sets a level playing field amongst managers and the team, and there is not a “them and us culture”. True leadership does not have to be forced. There is a way to lead effectively without re-enforcing your authority constantly. A code of honour helps to do this.

How to create a code of honour

The code of honour will differ from each company, but there are certain rules that should form a part of every code. These are:

  • Punctuality and meeting attendance;
  • Being committed to the company and having a mission first attitude;
  • Displaying a good moral standing both in work and out of work. This point may seem a little extreme, but your people are your brand, and every time someone interacts with a team member, they are interacting with your brand.

To create a code of honour within your company, identify the individual negative behaviours that are not supporting the business and create a set of rules around it. Have fortnightly meetings to ensure that everyone is abiding by it, and don’t be afraid to “call it” when necessary. I have worked with many companies to create a code of honour, and the results have literally changed the atmosphere, creating a lighter, happier workforce that are more motivated and committed to the job.

Mac Attram is a business growth expert and author with a vast amount of experience in running and driving multi-million pound businesses. In 2010, Mac partnered with Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad advisor Blair Singer, and co-founded SalesPartners UK. He coaches and trains business owners from all over the world. 

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