What Integrity Looks Like
Differentiating Traits of the Honest and Ethical
Think of the most honest and ethical person you know. What separates him or her from the pack?
To be thought of as a “person of integrity,” try to embody some of these differentiating traits of the honest and ethical that I have observed in others over the years:
BE TRUTHFUL AND NOT DECEPTIVE. This is an obvious prerequisite! In business, point out to clients how they can save money, even if it costs you a sale. Never sell someone a product that is unsafe or not really needed. And, don’t assume your employer wants to deceive a customer or ship a defective product in order to make a quick buck – if they do, find a better employer!
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE FIRST. Do what you say you’re going to do. Work hard and do your job. Volunteer to do the crappy tasks no one else wants to do. Acknowledge your failures. Don’t cheat, even on your diet. Conversely, have the integrity to tactfully confront problems or people rather than be complicit in allowing something wrong to occur.
BE COMPASSIONATE AND EMPATHETIC, PUTTING OTHERS AHEAD OF SELF. Understand the needs and problems of others. If you see someone struggling, jump in and help without thinking twice, regardless of the personal inconvenience. In business this might mean calling someone on behalf of your client to chase down an answer, helping a co-worker with a tough task, or gracefully giving a customer the benefit of the doubt on a product they want to return.
BE HUMBLE. Don’t exaggerate or talk about yourself too much, and don't brag about how honest and ethical you are. Don’t say a bad word about anybody.
BE CONSISTENT OVER TIME. Give consistent, authentic answers or treatments over time, and from one person to the next. Treat others fairly regardless of who they are.
To some people, the above behaviors come naturally. To others, it requires more effort. Either way, behaving ethically and honestly will enhance your reputation, generate the respect of the right people, and ultimately help you attain your business goals.