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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Recently, we looked at credibility, which is critical for developing relationships, especially relationships that matter. In the book Crucial Conversations, authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, state that when it matters most, we often do our worst. They go on to stress that if a relationship matters, then we should approach it in a different way; a way that enables us to achieve positive results without permanently damaging the relationship.

Integrity is repeatedly listed as a part of credibility. Integrity is defined having strong moral principles such as honesty, good character, ethics, morality, decency, fairness, truthfulness, trustworthiness, etc.

In working with companies and non-profit organizations on strategic planning, I can’t recall a time when they discussed their desired core values and didn’t mention integrity. Whether it is a core value of our organization or not, it is almost as if we are afraid not to list integrity, for fear of others thinking that we don’t have it.

While integrity may appear in multiple forms, what does it mean to people and what is expected in the workplace? What may be expected in the workplace are attributes such as dependability, good judgement, honesty, and loyalty, but what do these look like?

Here are some examples of integrity in the workplace:

  • Communicating openly and honestly
  • Being reliable
  • Making sound commitments and delivering on them
  • Being trustworthy
  • Demonstrating responsible behavior
  • Exhibiting actions that are consistent with what you say
  • Standing up for your beliefs
  • Having values; especially values that are appropriate to the workplace
  • Demonstrating behaviors that reflect your values
  • Following company policies, procedures, rules and regulations
  • Working efficiently and effectively (work ethics); not wasting company time or resources
  • Having the ability to admit mistakes and to learn from them
  • Not being afraid to show you care


Why is Integrity Important?

Integrity is important because it creates a positive workplace culture by promoting trust and respect. Who is responsible to create this culture? Leadership is responsible and they should begin with a set of shared values.

Creating a positive workplace culture of integrity starts with the character of a person and a trust and belief in them. Integrity is much more than ethics. When we talk about character, we are talking a leader who is consistently compassionate, honest, transparent, considerate and ethical. Someone we know we can count on and who will consistently do the right thing. They are predictable and, more importantly, reliable in how they deal with people and with issues. They are not just fair; they defend what is fair and what is (and what is not) acceptable.

It is a leader who creates an organizational culture of integrity by providing consistency, trust and predictable results. This culture is important because it creates a highly valued work environment that others want to be a part of. It allows the organization to develop a reputation of credibility and to attract the best and brightest available talent. Integrity is important because without it there will be no long-term organizational success or sustainability. 

Thanks to the good folks at HPISolutions for providing the basis for this article.