According to the dictionary, integrity is defined as a “firm adherence to a code of particularly artistic or moral values.” My Oxford Dictionary defines it as “honesty, persistence.”
From these two simple definitions, it is evident that one of the greatest honors you can pay a person is to say that (s)he has a great degree of integrity. The reason for this becomes clear when you consider the following top eight attributes – critical attributes that I believe people need to possess to ensure a high degree of integrity:
- Displaying honesty in all professional and personal relationships. Call it karma (Hi Arushi and Nik) or what you may, but it will usually come back to haunt you if you tell a lie. When you display honesty, people may not like your response or stand on an issue, but they’ll have a lot more admiration for you.
- Being reliable and encouraging trust in those around you. If you commit to doing what you say you’ll do, individuals will come to trust you. By being faithful and thus, a great role model, you can animate trust in others.
- Being upright and ethical in all interactions. Ethical people have high morals; they know what is bad or good, and wrong or right. They will always do the correct thing, despite the outcomes.
- Being fair. People who demonstrate integrity are fair. They do not treat one individual any differently than another. They apply the same rules to everyone, related to a judge in court.
- Being professional. A true expert thinks before talking, chooses his/her words correctly to get his/her point across without insulting anyone, doesn’t use abuse, and makes every effort to know people and situations, without passing judgment.
- Not promising to more than you can handle. If you don’t have the time or energy to follow through with a commit or complete work, then don’t do so in the first place. Learn how to respond “no” when your plate is full. Failure to follow through on your promises will result in people losing trust in you, and a soiled reputation.
- Being responsible. When you commit to a project or activity, be accountable for following through and getting the job done. If, in the process, you make errors or something doesn’t go as planned, don’t blame others. Be realistic about the situation, and take charge to rectify it to the best of your knowledge.
- Meeting agreed-upon deadlines. People with integrity meet deadlines. They catalog their work or personal life in a way that warrants adherence to particular deadlines. If they are unable to meet a deadline, they will inform all involved of the delay, the reason for it, and how they plan to complete the activity/project.