9 Things Integrity Really Means

Most companies have integrity baked into their values or mission statement. It’s typically worded something like, “We act with absolute integrity” or “We build value through integrity, …” Integrity is a powerful, but an often misunderstood concept. Many define integrity as honesty, and it is true that people with integrity are honest, but they are also much, much more.

Define Integrity

Integrity comes from the Latin word, “integer” which means intact or whole. One of my favorite definitions comes from technology - “internal consistency or lack of corruption.”

So when we have integrity we:

  • Are authentic — conducting our lives in a way that is true to our values
  • Act consistently and avoid moral relativism
  • Take responsibility and “own” all of our feelings and behaviors
  • Do what we say we will do
  • Hold ourselves accountable
  • Communicate the truth respectfully and don’t leave out important information
  • Actively listen and seek to understand other’s point of view
  • Are emotionally open, receptive and willing to share our feelings
  • Don’t have hidden agendas

Evaluate yourself

Stop and score yourself on a five-point scale. If you’re a leader, ask your team members to score the team. Then make plans to improve integrity and don’t forget to track your progress.