Most people like to think they have integrity; however, most people don’t really know what that exactly means. In a nutshell, having integrity means that someone adheres to a personal code of honor or moral convictions without having ulterior motives. It’s simply “doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do,” even if no one is watching.
Integrity involves the three R’s:
- Respect for self;
- Respect for others;
- Responsibility for all your actions.
Vocabulary.com says, “Having integrity means doing the right thing in a reliable way. It’s a personality trait that we admire, since it means a person has a moral compass that doesn’t waver.”
One example is not cheating on your taxes even if you are certain you could get away with it. Another example is owning up to a faux pas instead of trying to pass the buck to someone else.
Developing integrity means having a set of values that are formed through religious convictions or ethics based on personal experiences. It means being reliable and trustworthy, while behaving consistently.
- Think about how your interactions with others in your personal and professional life. What are some areas that need improvement? For example, if you find yourself always making excuses for being late for turning in reports or showing up for appointments, decide what you can do to change that behavior.
- Create a task or reminder list to help you stay on target so that others will learn to rely on you. This could be as basic as taking out the trash, or as complex as repaying a debt or other favor.
- Respect other people’s property. One example is not taking someone else’s parking spot. Another example is returning something a friend or neighbor may have loaned to you in the same or better condition – and in a timely manner.
- Remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion whether or not they are in agreement with yours. Keeping an open mind and respecting another’s viewpoint and beliefs will go a long way toward developing good character.
- Develop trusting relationships by being more open and candid with others. However, refrain from being brutally honest because the truth really does hurt sometimes. Most importantly, earn the respect of others by avoiding gossip and backbiting.
- Be accountable by admitting when you have made a mistake or offended someone else. If you share the blame with others, don’t worry about pointing the finger at them. Just own up to your part with a sincere apology.
Being a “person of integrity” is a description that is earned. Always go above and beyond what is expected of you. Enlist the help of family and friends who have your best interests at heart and will advise you on areas that need improving. If there are obstacles that seem insurmountable or you are having issues with facing some of your fears, talk to a counselor or mental health therapist who can help you overcome these concerns and develop a solid plan of action.