Integrity is defined as walking the talk
Integrity is defined as walking the talk when it comes to living one’s true values, being authentic. Integrity is a lot like being pregnant. Either you’re pregnant, or you aren’t. There’s no middle ground. It’s the same with integrity. Either you’re behaving with integrity, or you’re not.
While integrity is not a robe that one can pull on and take off when it’s convenient, many day-to-day workplace behaviors suggest that convenience plays a large role in whether people display integrity or not. Who and how people are at work seems to change like the weather, the weather of convenience.
When asked, many folks will say that they act with integrity. But when we look at their day-to-day, minute-by-minute workplace behaviors, this is clearly not the case.
One reason is that folks’ basic need for control, recognition and security gets in the way of integrity. So they move away from their authentic self, from their deeper inner values, displaying behaviors that lack integrity.
So do you think, feel and believe that you live your core values at work? Do you behave with integrity at work, when you are alone, when you are in relationship with colleagues?
Following are the four suggestions for cultivating integrity. They are as follows:
Don’t sell out
When our behavior at work does not match our beliefs, we are selling out at work, in many experiences, we are faced with decisions that bear this out. These decisions can be common, such as the decision to stay late to get the job done or go home and spend time with the family. I’m suggesting that selling out is generally the case if you claim your most important value is family but you spend little time with them. Living through integrity is tough, as living (practical) and believing (intellectually) is the ultimate test.
The formal vs. the informal
Living the company’s mission is rare organizationally. It is just as difficult on an individual basis. The mission is construed as cynical to many employees. Why practice it if the leaders see the mission as just words on a piece of paper. Here, integrity is taking the road less traveled by practicing the mission.
Integrity is the heart within the soul
How many times have you heard the comment, “I’ll get back to you”. Do you take that comment seriously? It is a staple comment to ease out of a conversation gracefully. How would you react, however, to a co-worker who consistently matched their actions to their word? It is word alone that we can keep and still give away. Integrity is leadership through positive example. Integrity is doing what is right and not what others are doing.
Integrity within relationships is caring and communicating
As a manager, recognizing performance is integrity. Coaching employees periodically and providing feedback leaves no surprises in the performance review, and it is integrity. Here’s a tough one: Treating employees with fairness by rejecting politics and nepotism and the old boy network is integrity. As an employee, treating others equally is integrity. And let us not forget the power of listening. Making the disciplined effort to listen without interruption and with an open.
Can you practice at least one of these suggestions? The commitment is and of itself. Integrity.
About The Author
Vijay Batra is an MBA, from University of Pittsburgh, USA and a graduate of the Japan Management Program from JAIMS, Hawaii, USA. He joined Kankaku Securities (subsidiary of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank) as a lifetime employee in 1987.