My definition of Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
All we can really count on in our lifetime is our integrity. What you do in your professional life tends to bleed over into your personal life. The two tend to be synonymous. When you’re thinking about integrity, think about Tiger Woods who, turned out to be the poster boy for absence of integrity. Include Bernie Madoff in this list when his billion-dollar con became known.
You can be the best golfer or broker in the world, but if you lack integrity, that’s what people will remember about you. Tiger Woods can mend his golf game; unfortunately his reputation is forever stained. You cannot just get it back. No matter how delicately you forfeit your integrity, it returns to plague you. Somebody untimely finds out and the world will ascertain who you are and what you’re about.
If you have not already damaged your personal integrity, here are some steps to attain integrity in your daily life:
Reflect on your interactions with others in the workplace, at home and in social situations to determine specific areas in need of improvement. For example, if you are late for work every day and feel guilty about creating excuses for this behavior, this may be an opportunity to develop greater personal integrity.
Determine your reasons for not behaving with greater personal integrity. For example, you may be pushing unpleasant work tasks on to other employees instead of being honest with your boss about your inability to do the tasks. You may be afraid to admit to yourself or to your boss that you do not possess the right skills or that the job is not the right fit for you.
Face the obstacles that cause you to lie or violate your moral code. This might involve finding a more suitable job, facing your fears about how others may perceive you and/or seeking out counseling to address emotional challenges and insecurities.
Consider all of the relationships at home and work that will benefit from greater truthfulness. For example, if managing a team of employees, be honest and direct with each individual about your expectations and employee performance. Avoid backbiting or gossiping. Refrain from causing harm. Part of developing personal integrity is gauging when and how to deliver the truth. Be careful not to confuse truthfulness with anger-driven and brutally honest confrontation.
Listen to and respect the opinions and decisions of others. Part of possessing personal integrity is acknowledging the human rights of others. Respecting diverse thoughts and decisions is a sign of open-mindedness and integrity. And finally:
Enlist the help of others. Colleagues, relatives and friends who know you well and have your best interest at heart can assist your progress by providing objective feedback on a daily basis about the personal changes you are making.