Integrity in the workplace is an important factor for everyone who has (or wants) a successful career, and for those who manage or lead a team or organization. Workplace integrity isn't a difficult concept to understand, but it is complex and broad in scope. Integrity in the workplace encompasses how people act at work, as well as the underlying factors that influence and motivate decision-making, such as honesty, ethics, and moral values.
How to Demonstrate Integrity in the Workplace
People who exhibit workplace integrity are those who are able to tell the difference between right and wrong, and choose to do what is right in the context of work. They act in this manner regardless of whether anyone will ever know what they did or didn't do. As you review the following examples of integrity in the workplace, consider where your own actions fit in.
Examples of Integrity Related to Work Habits
The way a person approaches their job can be an indicator of integrity. People who have workplace integrity perform their jobs to the best of their ability in a way that supports the needs of their team or department and the interests of the overall organization.
- Be someone that other people can count on. Those who let down their co-workers are viewed as being unreliable and lacking integrity.
- Consistently arrive at work on time, so you are ready to start your day at the time you are scheduled to do so. Don't regularly show up late or unprepared to get to work.
- Keep track of what you are responsible for, and meet all deadlines and requirements. If you do fall behind, ask for help before it is too late to meet the deadline.
- Check the quality of your work before submitting it, to ensure that appropriate quality standards are met.
- When there is something you don't know, ask for help rather than taking your chances by guessing at what to do.
Workplace Integrity Examples Related to Honesty
Honesty and truthfulness are essential components of workplace integrity. Being honest means telling the truth (i.e., not lying). Truthfulness goes a bit further than just avoiding falsehoods. It's about sharing the full truth of a situation. Those with integrity are both honest and truthful.
- If you make a mistake, admit it and accept accountability for your actions. Pretending that the mistake didn't happen, or blaming others would exhibit a lack of integrity.
- Properly represent your skills and qualifications when seeking a job or promotion or asking for a specific work assignment. Don't falsify or exaggerate your credentials.
- When praised for work that was the result of a team effort, make sure that everyone who contributed receives due credit for the part they played rather than accepting all the credit yourself.
- When asked questions about what you have observed in the workplace, objectively state what you have firsthand knowledge of, rather than refusing to participate or editorializing what you saw.
- Set realistic expectations for co-workers and customers. This ensures that you're not setting the stage for dissatisfaction by promising to deliver products or services within an unrealistic timeframe.
Examples of Workplace Integrity in Communication
Being honest and truthful in the workplace certainly relates to communication, but these are not the only aspects of business communication that link to workplace integrity. The way a person communicates affects whether others perceive them as having integrity. After all, communication is the foundation upon which workplace relationships are built.
- Communicate respectfully with everyone you interact with in the context of your job. Structuring the messages you send to show respect for others will encourage others to see you as a person of integrity.
- Communicate openly, with a commitment to truly listen to and consider what others are saying, as well as a desire to be heard. Let people know you are really interested in what they have to share.
- Engage in dialogue with others. Dialogue involves open communication and exchange of information, rather than one-sided expression focused on proving your point or getting your way.
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable with others on your team, so you can connect with colleagues on a meaningful level that will enable you to build strong and productive workplace relationships.
- Be a trustworthy co-worker. Do not use things that colleagues tell you in confidence for your own personal gain or otherwise betray their trust.
Workplace Integrity Examples Linked to Ethics/Morals
In the workplace, people are often faced with situations that require them to apply standards of ethics and morality to decision-making. When faced with making a decision that may have ethical implications, individuals with the highest levels of integrity are ones who choose the high road, even if it may be a disadvantage to them in some way.
- Speak up to stop co-workers who are spreading nasty rumors that could damage the reputation of a colleague. Refuse to participate yourself. Let those who are participating know that their behavior is damaging the team, and ask them to stop.
- Make sure you understand the company's code of ethics and code of conduct. Ensure that your decisions and behaviors reflect both the letter and spirit of these policies, while also embodying the organization's values.
- Report violations of company policy or other examples of wrongdoing in the workplace via the organization's official complaint procedure.
- If something is going on that violates a law or regulation, and reporting it internally is not helping, blow the whistle to the appropriate regulatory agency.
- If you have concerns about the ethics or morality of business actions that are being considered or taken, voice those concerns appropriately through the proper channels.
Workplace Integrity Matters
It is impossible to overstate the importance of integrity in the workplace. Companies that have employees who conduct themselves with integrity have a strong culture, are able to maintain the best employees, and ultimately enjoy the greatest long-term success. The same applies on a personal level. Individuals who conduct themselves with integrity will be viewed by others as leaders, a factor that is directly linked to career success. If you want to position yourself for a promotion at work, integrity is an important key.