Uncovering the Definition:
The concept of integrity is universally recognised. However, depending on who you ask it’s likely that you will get different interpretations and definitions for the word. Why? Because integrity’s interpretation lies within the context of one’s values, ethics, and personal behaviour.
We often understand Integrity as the old saying, “the path less travelled”. It’s a fundamental ethical and moral principle that involves consistency in both actions and values. People with a strong sense of integrity are truthful and transparent, they adhere to a code of ethics, and are generally trustworthy and reliable. It’s often associated with doing the right thing, even if you stand alone. These values play a crucial role in building trust and maintaining healthy relationships in both personal and professional settings.
The Importance of Integrity in The Workplace:
Integrity is an essential quality to every team. The choices teams make day-to-day directly impact both the culture within the workplace, and the way the organisation is perceived in the public eye. So, it’s vital that a core value within your team is acting with integrity.
The Value of integrity in the workplace cannot be overstated for a number of reasons:
- Trust and Credibility: When employees and leaders demonstrate integrity, they build trust with colleagues, superiors, and clients.
- Organisational Reputation: Organisations known for their commitment to ethical conduct tend to attract and retain customers, partners, and top talent.
- Commitment Over Compliance: Employees that are truly committed to the success of the business, will communicate fresh perspectives.
- Accountability: In a workplace with high integrity, employees own up to their mistakes and work toward solutions.
Aligning your actions with your beliefs is not always the easy option, and may require you to step outside of your comfort zone. But nothing great ever happened inside the comfort zone. Rather, we must find the courage to stand firm in our ethics and beliefs.
The Grand Enemies of Integrity:
So, now that we understand what integrity is and it’s importance is the workplace, let’s explore what prevents us from demonstrating integrity at work.
The answer is simple really, and it boils down to two key qualities – silence and avoidance.
The impacts of these two enemies are quite profound. A lack of integrity isn’t just about being dishonest, but it also encompasses staying silent when you should speak up.
Think about it, has there ever been a point in time where you kept silent in a meeting when you had an idea or something that could benefit the discussion? If you answered yes, like most of us will have, that’s showing a lack of integrity.
Let’s look at some other situations in the workplace where there is a lack of integrity:
- Delaying Difficult Conversations: This can be counter to the principles of integrity, potentially causing harm to relationships, trust, and the overall health of the work environment.
- Blaming Others: Blaming others can involve misleading or dishonest behavior, such as distorting facts or withholding information to shift blame. Integrity requires honesty and transparency in all professional interactions.
- Avoid/dismiss feedback: Avoiding feedback, especially if it points out areas for improvement, can be a sign of avoiding accountability.
- Canceling Without Explanations: People the cancel meetings without valid or honest explanations demonstrate a lack of integrity, which can lead to an erosion of trust between colleagues.
Unfortunately, teams that lack integrity are common. This is partly due to fear of creating conflict due to differing perspectives and ideas. However, it is vital that we power through this fear and be okay with temporary discomfort to ensure every team works to its greatest potential.
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