Integrity is often mentioned as one of the most important values in the workplace. But what is integrity in practice?
Similar to ‘moral values’ more generally, it is easier to define what something is not versus what it is leaving the rest to the flexibility of other contexts where the core premise of a moral value remains intact.
For example, when we speak about courtesy, courtesy in Japan is different than courtesy in Africa, however, in both contexts, courtesy remains true at its core, which is to exhibit respectful and polite behaviors towards others.
So back to integrity.
… not about concealing the truth,
… not about concealing what one truly thinks of a project or task that may result in harm, small or big, directly or indirectly, to others, and
… not about staying quiet when injustice or unfair judgment is made to or about others.
In all three cases, people conceal or stay quiet when they are either worried about someone else’s reaction in response to them or when they are worried about how they will be judged or labeled. For example and in the workplace, this could include the concern about being let go from a job, isolated, being labeled as different, or as one who rocks the boat.
So as one recognizes these fears, which mostly do not materialize, one must find the ways to manage these fears through influence, i.e. by understanding the norms of communication in a particular culture and understanding people’s and the organizational leaders’ temperaments and NEVER breaking the core of integrity.
Say truth + Uncover harms + Speak up = Integrity
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