Integrity in the Workplace: Definition, Examples and Tips
Updated 21 July 2022
Integrity plays a vital role in establishing a solid foundation for a successful relationship between employees and their employers. An organisation with integrity has a culture where individual employees trust and respect each other. Integrity in the workplace can improve productivity and employee motivation. In this article, we define integrity, consider ways to enhance and display your integrity and determine how integrity helps your career.
What is the meaning of integrity?
Integrity is when you behave honourably, even when no one is watching you. When you have integrity, you have strong moral and ethical values in all aspects of your life. Integrity is essential in many areas, including decision-making, customer service or interacting with colleagues. Organisations with employees with integrity provide better service to their customers and often have an excellent reputation. In addition, integrity in the work environment allows employees and employers to trust each other to perform their work diligently.
Characteristics related to integrity
Integrity is a character trait and not a skill. However, you can develop your integrity over time. To help you identify your character traits related to integrity, consider the following examples of integrity-related characteristics:
People with integrity are kindhearted and often help their colleagues. They express gratitude to others and recognise their colleague's achievements. If you want to develop your integrity, remember to have good manners when you interact with others. You can show your gratitude by saying "thank you" when someone helps you with a work task or make time for you in their busy schedule. It's a good idea to always send a thank-you email after an interview, important meeting or phone call.
Individuals with integrity value other people by being respectful to them at work. They are always on time for meetings, never miss a project deadline and consider their colleagues' feelings in their interactions with them. Show respect to your colleagues by being punctual and carefully considering your words when speaking to other people.
You need to be honest to have integrity. People with integrity try to be sincere and truthful when dealing with team members and customers. They admit when their mistakes and learn from them.
If you have integrity, you follow through on the commitments you made. To show that you're dependable, don't make promises you cannot keep. If you fall behind on a task, let your team members know as soon as possible. When colleagues share personal information with you, don't share the information with anyone else.
People with integrity try to deliver high-quality work within the agreed-upon timeline consistently. They know that their actions and deliverables may affect their team members and the organisation's goals.
Individuals with integrity take responsibility for their behaviour and actions. They are usually organised and proactive in ensuring they meet their responsibilities.
People with integrity like to help those in need. Their help may involve giving time to help someone with a challenging project without them asking or assisting a team member who has an emergency.
Someone who has integrity is patient and tolerate delays, challenges and obstacles while remaining calm. They wait for a turn to speak in meetings or talk to a colleague on a one-on-one basis.
Examples of daily integrity
You can show integrity in your daily life by always choosing to do the right thing, regardless of the circumstances. These are examples of how you can show integrity in everyday situations:
When someone shares secrets or confidential information with you, refrain from sharing it with anyone else.
Ensure you're honest with your team members and supervisor.
Don't engage in gossip about others.
If you make a promise to a team member, keep it.
If you find a lost item, return it to the owner without expecting a reward.
Admit when you make a mistake.
If a cashier gives you too much change, immediately let them know.
What does integrity mean in the workplace?
You can behave with integrity in the workplace, regardless of your seniority or area of work. Integrity is essential for managers and leaders, as they need to set an example for employees and customers. In addition, if you're a leader who acts with integrity, you will motivate other employees to act with integrity at work. Some examples of actions that show integrity include:
Show your team that you're reliable by keeping your commitments.
Be honest and transparent when you communicate with other people.
Hold yourself accountable for your actions and admit to your shortcomings.
How can you demonstrate integrity in the workplace?
Integrity impacts the work environments in organisations of every size. When you behave with integrity, you demonstrate to your managers and fellow employees that you can handle responsibilities that may advance your career. Your behaviour can help foster a positive company culture. You can show your integrity in the work environment with these actions:
1. Be ready for work
Make sure you arrive at work at the specified time and are ready to work on your tasks. If a conflict or personal emergency arises, inform your manager immediately to avoid arriving late or being absent without notifying them.
2. Set a positive example
You can be a good example whether you're in a management position or not. Your positive behaviour may encourage your colleagues and team members to do the same.
3. Remain respectful during conflict situations
When you have integrity, you defend your ideas and opinions. It also means not speaking negatively or your colleagues or using unprofessional language. When you disagree with someone else's views or ideas, try to be considerate and respectful in your response to them.
4. Practice accountability
Having integrity means holding yourself responsible for your mistakes and admitting this to others. If, for example, you failed to meet a work-related timeline, you need to explain the reasons for this to your manager and also carefully consider how you can avoid this in the future.
5. Adhere and enforce company policies
Organisations develop policies to protect employees, encourage professionalism and improve work efficiency. If you have integrity, it's crucial to understand these policies and to adhere to them at all times.
6. Strive to improve your work ethic
When you have integrity, you always complete your work to the desired quality and on time to meet the set deadline. Be productive during working hours and start each task with dedication and enthusiasm.
7. Respect property
Treat the organisation and your colleague's property with care. For example, don't take business supplies for personal use. If you find a lost item, try to return it to the owner.
Examples of integrity
These scenarios show the use of integrity in the workplace:
Example 1: Dealing with gossip at work
During lunch, Peter's team members criticise another team member's inability to keep to deadlines and their manager's failure to address this. Peter makes sure that he understands their concerns and suggests that his team members discuss their concerns directly with their manager.
Example 2: Making tough decisions
Sarah is a developer who has been given the responsibility to develop code for a new product. She has been working on the code for several months but often runs into dead ends. So instead of creating a temporary solution to the problem, she discusses her challenges with her team members to get their help in finding a longer-term solution. She chose this action because she didn't want to create code that would cause problems in the future.
Example 3: Addressing issues of honesty
John is a sales representative for an organisation. A potential customer asked her whether the software created by John's employer can perform a function critical for his business. John was not sure and chose not to provide the wrong information to the customer. Instead, he informed the customer that he would find out and give him feedback later. John checked with the organisations' developers, and they confirmed that the software could perform the required function. By behaving with integrity, John earned respect from the customer and made an honest sale.
Easy tips for encouraging integrity in the work environment
You can follow these tips to uphold integrity at work:
Lead others by setting a good example
Always engage in open communication
Take responsibility for your actions
Report unethical and inappropriate behaviour to senior officials
Treat others with respect
Remain patient at all times
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