Do you follow through on your commitments and promises? Are you trustworthy? Do you communicate openly and honestly? Your response to these probing questions may well be a resounding “Yes”. The reality is often much more likely to be more about justifying why we haven’t done something or missing that deadline or avoiding a potentially challenging conversation. When we can live with integrity, we automatically have a much stronger communication currency with others. We can and should model integrity for young people and encourage them to uphold this skill. Relationships and reputations are lost and made during times of crisis…
Continuing this brand new series “7 Skills for Right Now”, designed to equip young people with guidance and support to enable them to thrive amidst uncertainty and change. These skills make a huge different in changing perceptions, raising awareness and strengthening confidence.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” – Bob Marley
What are the 7 Skills? Grounded in research and in experiential learning workshops run with lawyers, medical practitioners and university students world-wide, we each have unlimited capacity to develop adaptability, critical thinking, empathy, integrity, optimism, proactivity and resilience. When everything around you is deeply uncertain, when you feel anxious, when you’re surrounded by rapid change, the best thing you can do is dig deep and harness these skills. They will enable all of us, to better manage this new environment and our constantly changing personal and professional landscape.
This week: INTEGRITY
Integrity is often thought of us as something that is simply part of your character. I believe it is a skill and that there are behaviours and actions that demonstrate integrity if you can make the effort to incorporate them into your day-to-day:
Graciousness – This is all about simple consideration with others – expressing gratitude and recognising achievements and looking for ways to support others or just even being able to notice when someone needs help. To be gracious you actually just need to slow down and start noticing more.
Respect – People with integrity value other people by showing respect. In our day-to-day it looks like this: being on time for meetings and tutorials, meeting project deadlines and keeping people’s feelings in mind. You demonstrate this trait by exercising punctuality, care with your words and careful consideration of people’s ideas and emotions.
Honesty – Integrity requires honesty. Those with integrity strive to be truthful. They own up to mistakes and try to learn from them. This openness and willingness to be vulnerable and transparent goes a long long way to building trust.
Who hasn’t sent a text message saying “I’m on my way” when it wasn’t true or fudged the truth a touch in their online dating profile? But Jeff Hancock doesn’t believe that the anonymity of the internet encourages dishonesty. In fact, he says the searchability and permanence of information online may even keep us honest.
Following through – People with integrity follow through on their commitments. To demonstrate trustworthiness, avoid over-promising. If you’re unable to complete a task or meet a deadline, be sure to let others know as quickly as possible. If you are trusted with personal information, respect it.
Being accountable – Those with integrity take accountability for their actions. They are also organized and proactive making sure they deliver on their responsibilities. They are good at prioritising commitments so they are not taking on too much.
One of the best ways to live with integrity is to understand your values and how they show up (or not!) in your life each day. Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions. They help us to determine what is important to us. Values describe the personal qualities we choose to embody to guide our actions; the sort of person we want to be; the manner in which we treat ourselves and others, and our interaction with the world around us. Values are a bit like our own inner compass. It is worth spending time defining what your values are. Once you have narrowed them down, it’s about understanding how that value is present in your life (or not):
Let’s say one of my values is generosity. I can ask myself these questions:
What does that value look like in my life?
Am I generous with my time, my money, my affection?
How often do I give others credit?
How often do I give to others every day?
How kind am I?
If this value isn’t sufficiently present every day, what can I do to change that or is this actually a value for me?
Identifying your values is well worth the time. You’ll find it so much easier to plan your day/week, make decisions and act with integrity.
What does integrity mean in the workplace?
In a workplace setting, acting with integrity often means demonstrating your core values in everything you do. Integrity is critical, however, in leadership positions where people have the opportunity to set examples for others. By incorporating strong values into your behaviour, you can help encourage others to do the same.