Career

The Importance of Working With Integrity

Most of us aim to live our lives honestly and with integrity, I’m certain. I mean, who goes around saying they don’t value honesty?

Have you stopped to think if you also place a conscious effort on working with integrity too?

By this, I mean: if you tell a co-worker that you will source some information for him, do you follow through? If you miss a call from your client, do you call her back as soon as you’re able to? Do you endeavour to turn around an email in a reasonable amount of time if someone has asked for help?

Working with integrity makes us for better employees, better teammates… better people.

If we delve into it a little deeper, working with integrity is a lot of work. It’s easier to take the path of least energy, but I think it’s essential to make the effort. The results are profound – from the trust we build with those around us to your own sense of satisfaction that you are doing the right thing.

Building trust with others

When we work with integrity, we build trust. This is trust with everyone in your network, from your immediate teammates, your wider network of colleagues, your boss and your client, and it takes time and small building blocks to create. When things then go wrong, as they seem prone to, my experience has been that there is less blame and more action towards simply solving the problem. The trust that I have built with the people I work with – both teammates and clients – mean that we take a collaborative approach to work because we trust each other. That trust does not come without hard work and honesty.

Understanding your commitments and priorities

In order to effectively work with integrity, you need have a thorough understanding of your commitments, what you need to achieve and the timeframes you have available. Don’t be afraid to say no if someone asks you to do something but you have prior commitments or a full workload. Saying yes, because you feel obliged to, might negate any trust building that you’ve been working on if you are unable to follow through.

When you understand the requirements of your role, you will be able to set boundaries and manage the expectations of others. I have heard of people who will only respond to emails the next day, or of others who aim to respond to all client emails within four hours. Set these expectations around your workload and role and you will find people will understand your method of work and, in most instances, respect it.

Living your values

For someone who writes a blog, it’s ironic when I complain to a friend about stepping outside my comfort three days after posting an article about it (yes, this happened). For the most part though, I work towards upholding the values I write about.

We all have values, and when we work with integrity, we are practicing those values on a daily basis. Make sure that you are living by the values you talk about to others. Before passing judgement on someone else, make sure first you are doing the best you can do. Work foremost on yourself; look inward and ensure you are living honestly by the values you say are important.

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There are two definitions for integrity. One: to be of moral soundness and two: to be complete, or whole. Without a doubt I reference here the first, but the second resonates a little stronger with me. It’s about working and living in a way that is complete and sound.

We shouldn’t do the right thing because we should. We should do the right thing because it’s right, even when no one’s watching.