Upright leadership

Joni Adams wants to
lead with honesty and
integrity, even if that sometimes means having to
let someone go for the
sake of the business. The
founder, owner and CEO of
Refurbished Office Furniture
says that it’s never an
easy decision to let someone
go, but sometimes, it’s best
for the company, which posted 2007 revenue of approximately $10 million.

“I have to go home and
keep my eye on the big picture, and I remind our managers of that,” she says.
“What we’re doing here is for
the 80 people, not for the

Smart Business spoke
with Adams about how to
create an honest work environment.

Q. How do you make sure
that your employees are
showing integrity and being

Our mission statement is
hung up everywhere. When
instances do occur where
someone has not been completely honest or maybe
they’ve said some things that
weren’t really truthful to
kind of hurt another person,
we call them out on it.

We have a talk with them
about it, and we always
point to our mission statement that states this is how
we … carry out our relationships with our co-workers
and customers and vendors
and everyone, and this was
not an example of that.

Talk to them every day,
walk around, get involved in
some of their work activities
by observing and just communicating a lot and being
there — being available for
them to ask questions. You
can find out a lot just in the
questions that they ask you.

But, if you’re not available,
if you’re always in your office
or out of the office, then it’s
going to be difficult to know.

Q. How do you avoid
micromanaging when getting
involved in employees’

Being a good leader,
you don’t want to
micromanage. You
really want to make
sure your people are
empowered. So, I
struggle with that, as
well. I don’t go over
their shoulder and
stare at them or stand
at their desks.

A lot of times, I just
go right around the
corner where they
can’t see me, and I’m
just listening. They
don’t even know that
I’m there. So, I try to
make it really discreet.

If they are going to see
me, I try to come up
with some other reasons
why I may be going to their
desk and asking them some
nonthreatening questions.