Integrity at Work

August 14, 2018
Integrity at Work
I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – Frederick Douglass 
Famed 19th-century author and orator Frederick Douglass was an eminent human rights leader in the anti-slavery movement and the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank.Frederick Douglass was born into slavery around 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. He became a famous intellectual, advising presidents and lecturing to thousands on varied causes, including women’s rights and Irish home rule. Frederick Douglass has integrity. Integrity is the quality of being honest, having strong moral principles, and holding one’s self to consistent standards. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.

Consistency is a choice we make. If you just had an argument with someone before walking into your next meeting, consistency means you will make a conscious choice to shift gears and release yourself from the negativity of the last conversation, not bring that to the next meeting.

Honesty and accuracy of one’s actions requires intentionality and thought. Behaviors, actions, and words should be honest, accurate.

Integrity stems from the Latin word ‘integer’ which means whole and complete. So integrity requires an inner sense of ‘wholeness’ and consistency of character. When you are in integrity, people should be able to visibly see it through your actions, words, decisions, methods, and outcomes. 

A person who has integrity is the same authentic person regardless of the situation. You can meet this person with family, friends, at athletic events, or boardroom meetings, and see a consistency in behavior, actions, and words.

Integrity is one of the fundamental values employers seek in employees. Integrity is the foundation on which coworkers build relationships, trust, and effective interpersonal relationships.

Integrity at Work

Integrity in the workplace fosters a positive workplace culture. One where there is open communication, good decision making, and a strong moral compass guiding all decisions and actions.

If you are known for your integrity, you will gain trust and respect from the people around you. People want to deal with an individual or organization that can be trusted to follow through with what they have agreed upon. To strengthen integrity, read on.

– Know yourself. Clarify your needs, values, skills and goals. Ensure that these are not reflections of others’ expectations. 

– Be Authentic. Be your genuine self all the time. Adhere to your purpose and goals.
– Build trusting, respectful relationships. Demonstrate you’re a team player who others can rely on. Communicate politely, honestly, and respect colleagues’ thoughts and ideas.
– Be honest. Encourage open communication between employers, employees, and co-workers. If you’re honest about dissatisfying aspects of your job, your employer may be able to improve the situation. Employers that are open about company policies and changes that affect the organization are more trustworthy from the employees’ perspective.
– Maintain confidentiality. In addition to facilitating integrity, confidentiality is a legal necessity. Employers and employees have an obligation to keep certain information private. Violation of privacy policies could lead to fines, penalties and possible lawsuits. Confidentiality instills trust and encourages sincere consideration of the privacy of others.
– Give and Take Credit. Accept credit for what you create, but also give credit where credit is due. Most productive, dedicated workers feel good about receiving praise or credit for their contributions.
– Value Time. Don’t waste anyone’s time. Be prompt for meetings and projects. Being late is a form of disrespect. Stick to deadlines, schedules, and arranged set-ups.
– Don’t Argue.  Don’t allow irrational emotional reactions to define the way you interact with the world. Learn how to disagree in a civil manner, and know when to just walk away. Do not send negative email messages or internet posts.
Give Second Chances. Grant others the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume the worst. If you suspect someone of lying or cheating but they claim otherwise, trust them by giving a second chance.
– Adhere to the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is a reflection of respect for others. Treating others the way you want to be treated is the core principle of the Golden Rule, and an example of integrity at work. Practicing the Golden Rule keeps offensive comments and other disturbances at bay.
– Follow company policies. Policies are designed to guide you as to the best practices. Avoid use of company’s equipment or resources for personal use.
– Work Diligently. Show enthusiasm and commitment to your work. Focus on job responsibilities.
– Apologize. Don’t allow foolish pride to take precedence over rationality. Learn to say, “I’m sorry.”  This may require being the bigger person and apologizing first.
–  Be Accountable. Ensure your word and actions are justified, and can be explained. Define and follow through on your word or promise.
– Admit to and learn from mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process. Correct them, and move on.
– Tune into your intuition. Write daily thoughts, feelings and hunches in your journal.  Attend to what you write and how you feel at the time. Note thoughts and feelings that emerge when you finish. Notice how intuitive hunches feel different from calculated ones. Take at least five minutes of quiet time every day to listen to your intuition.
– Lead by ExampleWhen individuals lead by example, they set the foundation for appropriate workplace behavior. Leading by example improves personal awareness, sensitivity to others, and accountability.
Demonstrate Humility. Don’t brag or show off what you have or have accomplished. Feel good about your accomplishments, then strive to become better.  
– Strengthen Altruism. Enjoy enriching the lives of those around you, even if it means sacrificing some happiness in your own life for a while.
– Stand Up for Your Beliefs. Advocate what you think is the appropriate way of doing things, even if everyone else is acting differently. If you are asked to do something that’s not in harmony with your personal code of conduct, develop the courage to say no. Your integrity always keeps you on the right path. A person with integrity learns how to manage unethical or illegal temptations and winds up happier, healthier, stronger, and more successful personally and professionally.

Frederick Douglass and other folks who live with integrity are Questers.  They are described in the award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life: