What Is Integrity? Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 September 2022 | Published 6 June 2021

Updated 22 September 2022

Published 6 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Integrity is a valuable trait to have in the workplace and one that employers prize in their employees. A company that has employees who value integrity is likely to have a professional and reliable work culture. The employees in the company are more likely to have a good working relationship with their employers and also among themselves. They will be respectful of each other, will be highly motivated at work and will consequently be more productive.

In this article, we will find out what integrity is, what its main characteristics are, how important it is in the workplace and how you can improve this trait in your life to boost your career.

What Is Integrity?

A person can be said to have integrity when they have strong ethical and moral principles and adhere to these even when they are not under public scrutiny. A person with integrity tends to behave honourably in all the different life situations they find themselves in. They will be reliable in the workplace and you can count on them to do the right thing in the right situation, whether they have to make an important work decision, collaborate with their colleagues or attend to the requirements of their clients and customers.

Companies that emphasise hiring people with integrity will have diligent teams that continue to meet production schedules. As a result, such companies can supply excellent products, make a profit and become industry leaders.

Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples

Character Traits Related To Integrity

Integrity is a character trait, not a skill, but you can make an effort and develop it. To do so, it will help to identify what your strengths are and consider how you can improve them. You should also know about the basic personality traits associated with integrity, such as:

Graciousness

Being gracious means having good manners and being genuinely appreciative of the people around you. It means expressing gratitude by thanking people when they do you a favour. It means acknowledging the achievements of others and letting them know how well they are doing.

Honesty

To have integrity, you must strive to be honest in your personal and professional relationships. You must be honest about your talents and shortcomings. You must say exactly what you mean without being rude and, if you make a mistake, you must not shirk from admitting to it.

Trustworthiness

Following through on what you have promised or committed to is an important part of having integrity. People will trust you if they know they can depend on you to do what you have said you will do. That, however, means you need to be careful about what you promise and only undertake what you know you can realistically handle. If you can not do the task, you must immediately inform the other people involved in the project. Being careful with other people's personal information is also important if you want to be taken as a trustworthy person.

Responsibility

As a person with integrity, you must take responsibility for your behaviour and your work commitments. You must watch what you say and how you treat other people. You must show consideration for other people's ideas and opinions. You must hold yourself accountable for being punctual to work and meetings, perform your assigned tasks with diligence and complete projects on time.

Patience

A person with integrity will strive to cultivate patience and tolerance. By learning how to stay calm and collected in the face of setbacks, you will be able to find ways to overcome the challenges and obstacles that you encounter in your personal and professional dealings. Rather than grumbling at delays, you can put the time to more productive use.

Helpfulness

When you have integrity, you tend to have a selfless and helpful outlook towards the world. You will be more willing to assist people in need without always expecting something in return. You will not mind covering for your colleagues if they have to remain absent from work due to an emergency. You will be generous about helping out with your time and ideas when working together.

Related: What Is a Conscientious Personality?

Integrity In Everyday Life

To display integrity in your everyday life, you must be clear about your values and always choose to do the right thing in different circumstances. Let us look at some examples of integrity in everyday life:

  • Be honest and fair in your interactions with your family members and other people.

  • Be respectful and considerate towards elderly people, whether they are from your family, friends or strangers. Help them out when necessary.

  • If someone shares confidential information with you, respect their trust in you and do not share the information with anyone else.

  • Do not gossip about people.

  • If you commit to doing a task, make sure you follow through and complete it.

  • If you make a mistake, own up to it and offer to make appropriate amends.

  • When you come across someone's lost or forgotten item, return it to them without expecting a reward.

  • If a cashier makes a mistake when you are out shopping, point out the error and return the extra money they mistakenly gave you.

Integrity In The Workplace

Whatever your work position or department, exercising integrity in the workplace is of utmost importance for the future of your career and the company's long-term well-being. By behaving with integrity in the workplace, you can count on improving your relationships with your superiors and colleagues. The work environment will be better, with higher levels of work motivation and productivity amongst the employees. Here are some examples of integrity in the workplace:

  • Being open and honest with your work colleagues.

  • Taking responsibility for your tasks and completing them on time.

  • Owning up to mistakes and shortcomings and taking steps to correct them.

  • Assisting and encouraging your colleagues to do better when necessary.

Related: How to Practise Self-Discipline in the Workplace

Displaying Integrity In The Workplace

Practicing integrity in your everyday work interactions can have a positive impact on your workplace. Whether you work for someone or run your own business, you will be held in high regard by your employers and customers. That will make it easier for you to build trust, take on bigger responsibilities and advance in your career. To demonstrate integrity, you can take the following actions:

Make a point of being punctual

Organise your daily schedule so that you can reach the office on time and start working without too many delays. If you are going to be late or a family emergency has come up, call and inform your work manager or colleague as soon as you can.

Have a good work ethic

Stay focused on your assigned tasks during work hours and do not waste time chatting with colleagues or surfing the internet. Make sure your work is done well and on time.

Lead other people by example

Being positive, enthusiastic and motivated at work will make people look up to you as someone to emulate. It may encourage them to improve their work attitude.

Hold yourself accountable for your actions

Follow through on your goals and commitments even when someone is not supervising your work. If you fall behind or make a mistake, explain the matter to your supervisor and try not to repeat the mistake with future projects.

Be polite and respectful towards other people

To foster a professional and pleasant work environment, it is important to take a polite and respectful approach in all your interactions. While you should express your opinions and ideas, you should also be willing to listen to what your colleagues have to say. If there are disagreements or conflicts, stay calm, do not use unprofessional language and try to find mutually acceptable ways to resolve them.

Adhere to the company's workplace policies

Read and understand your company's policies regarding employee conduct and workplace safety. Make sure that you and your team follow these.

Respect company and employee property

You should be careful in using the computers, other electronic equipment and office supplies that the company provides you for work purposes. Do not use these for personal purposes without seeking prior permission. Additionally, always ask your colleagues before you use any of their company-provided or personal items.

Examples Of Integrity In The Workplace

To know more about exercising integrity in the workplace, consider the following scenarios:

Responding to office gossip

Sujata heard two of her team members complaining that another team member's tardiness was adversely impacting the team project. While agreeing that the project completion was an important issue, Sujata suggested that it would be more worthwhile to discuss the matter in person with the concerned team member.

Giving due credit

Vandana was having difficulty with the code she had been writing for a new application for the past month. Marthand noticed that and offered some useful tips that enabled her to complete the final step. Later, at the team meeting, Vandana told everyone that she could not have done it without him and thanked him for his help.

Tips For Maintaining Integrity In The Workplace

You may find the following tips useful for maintaining integrity in your workplace:

  • Be mindful of your behaviour and try to lead by example.

  • Take responsibility for your actions.

  • Exercise self-control and patience.

  • Be polite and respectful with everyone.

  • Be easy-going and available for open communication.

  • Speak out if you encounter unethical or inappropriate behaviour.


Related:

  • How To Develop a Code of Professional Ethics (With Examples)

  • Business Ethics: Definition, Principles and Importance

  • Business Ethics Examples (And How To Improve Them)

  • What Is Ethical Behaviour? (With Importance And Examples)

  • Top Personal Development Skills To Improve Your Career

  • An In-Depth Guide to Professionalism

  • What Is A Code Of Ethics And What Are Its Principles?


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