Consistently adhering to strong personal values and always being honest
WHAT IS IT?
Integrity is the defining trait of someone who displays strong moral character, honesty, and conviction. Those with integrity do more than hold personal beliefs – they act on those beliefs. In other words, those with integrity allow their moral convictions to guide their daily behavior.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Integrity is a foundational characteristic of successful teams, departments, and organizations. Without integrity, organizations could face any number of pitfalls, including dysfunctional team dynamics, flimsy organizational identity, and even legal liability. Furthermore, without integrity, individuals cannot earn the trust to move into larger roles, teams cannot perform at their optimum, and organizations can crumble under their own weight. Integrity and goodwill can also work to the advantage of a group by inspiring more contributors and more deeply engaged participants.
- Determine Your Values
First, explicitly identify your most important values. One of the best ways to build integrity is to define the kind of person we want to be. Evaluate your performance regularly to determine if those values are evident in your life. Keep in mind that there are two main types of values at play. First, there are values by which we operate. Second, there are values by which the world operates. An important step in determining values is to understand which values we hold ourselves to versus which values the world expects us to follow. For example, a doctor may have religious beliefs he/she has chosen, but that doctor must also adhere to the moral and professional principles of the medical profession, presented most visibly in the Hippocratic Oath.
- Consider Scenarios Where Your Integrity Could Be Challenged
Second, consider the scenarios in which some of your core values could be challenged. Think of those situations where duress, stress, or peer pressure may create a situation in which those determined values could be come into question. Think through and rehearse a way to practice integrity in that situation. If possible, have someone act out the situation.
- Make Your Values Known
Finally, make your values known to others. Making values clear to those around us will decrease the chance of others asking us to act against our morals. Additionally, should someone try to compromise your integrity, having that prior conversation about beliefs can create an easy avenue to respectfully push back. Keep in mind that initial conversation where values are established can create conflict, especially in those places where individual values differ.