According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, integrity means to have a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” My Oxford American Dictionary defines it as “honesty, incorruptibility.” From these two simple definitions, it is obvious that one of the highest compliments you can pay an individual is to say that s/he has a high degree of integrity. The reason for this becomes apparent when you consider the following top 10 attributes; critical attributes that I believe individuals need to possess to warrant a high degree of integrity:
1. Displaying honesty in all personal and professional relationships. Call it karma or what you may, but if you tell a lie, it will generally come back to haunt you. When you demonstrate honesty, people may not like your answer or stand on an issue, but they’ll have a lot more respect for you.
2. Being trustworthy and inspiring trust in those around you. If you commit to doing what you say you’ll do, people will come to trust you. By being trustworthy and, thus, a good role model, you can inspire trust in others.
3. Being ethical in all interactions. People who are ethical have high morals; they know what is good or bad, and right or wrong. They will always do the right thing, despite the consequences.
4. Being fair. People who display integrity are fair. They do not treat one person any differently than another. They apply the same rules to everyone, similar to a judge in court.
5. Being professional. A true professional thinks before speaking, chooses his/her words carefully to get his/her point across without offending anyone, doesn’t use profanity, and makes every effort to understand people and situations, without rendering judgment.
6. Not committing to more than you can handle. If you don’t have the energy or time to follow through with a promise or complete an assignment, then don’t do so in the first place. Learn how to say “no” when your plate is too full. Failure to follow through on your commitments will result in people losing trust in you, and a tarnished reputation.
7. Being responsible. When you commit to an activity or assignment, take responsibility for following through and getting the job done. If, in the process, you make mistakes or something doesn’t go as planned, don’t blame others. Be honest about the situation, and take responsibility to rectify it to the best of your ability.
8. Meeting agreed upon deadlines. People with integrity meet deadlines. They schedule their work or personal life in a way that ensures adherence to specific deadlines. If, for any reason, they are unable to meet a deadline, they will notify all involved of the delay, the reason for it, and how they plan to complete the project/activity.
9. Always doing a quality job. People with integrity take pride in their work and strive to do the best job possible. They are more interested in quality than quantity.
10. Being consistent in your actions. People with integrity are consistently honest, trustworthy, ethical, fair, professional, committed, and responsible. They consistently meet deadlines, and perform quality work.
Possessing a high degree of integrity is essential in your personal and professional life. If you feel you are weak in one or more of the above areas, commit to start working on those areas today. You’ll be amazed at the positive changes in yourself and how others perceive you.
Copyright 2009 © Sharon L. Mikrut, All rights reserved.