You may have experienced working with someone who has lacked integrity. Perhaps it was a colleague who stole your idea, a supervisor who claimed victory for the team’s success or the customer who did the wrong thing and expected you to pay for it.
It’s unpleasant and the entire workplace can suffer for it. Relationships become strained, conflicts emerge, ideas are stifled and there is a reluctance to work together, limiting productivity and profitability. That is why Integrity in the workplace is so vital, and it all starts by having it as an individual.
Most people understand integrity to be a core value, a stable force within. It’s often thought about when we speak of morals and ethics and relates to a person’s character and level of honesty.
Integrity is this and more. It is about making the right choice even if it goes against the general consensus or without you personally gaining from it. It is the way you live and how you act when no one else is watching.
So how do you ensure you are perceived as having high integrity in the workplace? Here are three tips to help you showcase your integrity and use it to advance your career.
Be real and accountable
Know who you are, what you stand for and what your purpose is – beyond making money. Be real, honest and stay true to what you believe in. The best way to be seen as having integrity is to be real and authentic.
Employers look for workers and leaders who will move their organisation forward in line with their core values. A high level of integrity can mean you are seen as someone who is dependable, honest in your dealings and accountable for your own actions.
You are also more likely to be seen as a role model, someone who others will emulate. These are the characteristics employers want most in their staff, and the characteristics they promote leaders by.
Build trust through consistency
Trust is the essential ingredient in any work relationship; you can’t build a strong team, profitable business or create loyal customers without it. Your ability to gain and keep the trust of your employer, colleagues and customers is crucial to your career advancement.
One of the keys to building trust is consistency. Your integrity and the consistency of your actions will speak far louder than anything you can say.
Whether it is accepting accountability when things don’t go well, sharing the credit when things do or standing up for what is right even at personal cost or consequence, showing your integrity consistently will put you in a position of influence with your colleagues and customers.
Act in the best interest of the company
When you act with integrity you build a reputation as being someone who is able to put aside their own agenda and make decisions based on what is right, or in this case what is best for the company and its customers and employees.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to stay focused on the bigger picture and vision, being mindful of how your decisions and actions can impact on it. Sometimes it can involve making hard decisions or accepting hard decisions for the greater good, sacrificing short-term gains to ensure long-term success.
While you may have the best intentions, having integrity doesn’t mean you won’t or can’t make mistakes in the workplace, quite the opposite. The difference is that when you do, you own it, address it and rectify it.
I’ll leave the final word to American senator, Alan Kool Simpson who so aptly explained “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”