Everyone has a basic understanding of what integrity is but for the purpose of this article, I want to clearly define it so that you have the idea of the foundation from which I try to work from and show by example for inspectors that work with me.
Integrity – the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values; honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.
In my opinion, integrity is the most important quality an individual can have. It is or should be the foundation of every individual in the workplace. I have discovered through my experiences in the work world that many individuals throw the term around loosely when it is convenient for the self-image or easily projected with little effort. Some people just have integrity in their DNA, and it comes naturally. Others will implement a self-practice of integrity and strive to keep it in front of everything that they do. And then there is the percentage of people who want to “cowboy” their actions in the workplace putting themselves ahead and at the expense of others with blatant disregard for integrity.
Honesty and truthfulness for many of us come quite easily when it is not going to challenge our self-esteem, self-confidence, or self-worth. With no impact in these three areas, it is easy to “act” like you have integrity. But, when the tables are turned and we must admit to mistakes, actions, and words that are not conducive to good behavior in the workplace, there are a lot of folks who will disregard honesty and truthfulness, hence, integrity, to push away the undesirable impact on their self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. These individuals become defensive and some will fall into a “survival mode” and begin deflecting attention towards other areas of “cause” or individuals and begin “paving a road” with excuses.
There is one additional word I think should be included in the definition of integrity and it is ownership. If you have integrity, you own all your actions and words good or bad. You do not try to draw attention to other areas or throw individuals “under the bus” for the sake of lessening the blow to your self-esteem, confidence, and worth. A person who can honestly and truthfully admit their failures and mistakes and show improvement towards not repeating them has an extremely high standard of integrity in my opinion.
I will be the first one to admit that I do not like having to go to the client or my supervisor and admit something went wrong or that I made a mistake. However, can beat me to that task! I will be the first to admit to any mistake or wrongdoing that I made. I use the term “I” because I will also be the first to make the call for any mistake made by my team. I am responsible for my actions and the actions made by my team. When I make that call, I will have the answers to the “whys”, and I will have several options to rectify the issues.
So, do you have integrity? Well, actions speak louder than words. Integrity takes honesty and conviction, and it does not come easily without having humility, self-awareness, and putting forth effort. How important is it for you to maintain employment, be respected by others, and be in demand because of your reputation? You are the only one who can decide whether you want to be a person who has integrity or not. Choose wisely!
Take care and be safe!