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Why integrity at work is important?

Integrity is a set of values that must be respected even when no one looks at us: honesty, trust, doing what we say and saying what we do, are part of integrity. An honest person will apply the moral and ethical principles necessary to work well with others, i.e. colleagues, subordinates where applicable, customers, professional partners, in short, all stakeholders in the company. A person who is not honest will be harmful to the company and will give it a bad image.

Créateur: Catalin205 - Crédits: Getty Images

Integrity in the company

A definition of corporate integrity could be: the unwavering adherence to a code of ethics and conduct. Indeed, some companies have charters, codes of conduct or ethics, in line with the company's core values. It includes concepts such as compliance with the law, the attitude to adopt when dealing with gifts from suppliers, the treatment of confidential information, and the attitude to have when dealing with competitors. All these situations require integrity from everyone.


Some behaviours are very likely to be harmful to us, and many of us face this kind of situation at least once in our working lives. I have chosen the following examples to illustrate my point:

The first is an example that can happen to any of us: you hear a colleague on the phone giving advice to a potential supplier on how to get a contract with the company. The first question to ask yourself is whether this same information has been given to all potential suppliers. And if this is not the case, it is obvious that your colleague does not demonstrate integrity and that you should not hesitate to talk about it directly to him/her, to HR or to your superiors if necessary.

Trust your conscience. If you are unsure, ask yourself if you could tell your family, other colleagues, your supervisor what you have done or seen/heard without shame. Be honest with yourself.

The second, is a multiple example, which can take place at home, at work, in society, in the family. Someone makes us a promise and doesn't keep it. Someone tells us something between the eyes and then denies it. Moreover, he/she denies in public. In this kind of work situation, it is difficult to prove anything if there is nothing written. It's our word against hers. But it is clear that this person loses credibility, that you will no longer trust him/her.

You understand why it is important to keep your word.

Another common example at work is when a colleague or subordinate does a good job or has a fantastic idea, it is important to recognize and say it. If you take all the credit for it, your credibility will be severely damaged. Your colleagues or subordinates will no longer want to work with you. The same is true when you minimize the contribution of others to make yourself more important. Recognizing everyone's participation in a project or work will give you more credibility for future joint activities. Appreciate the loyalty, effort and hard work of everyone.

The latest examples are not only the responsibility of managers: favouritism or being unfair to colleagues or employees. Or show contempt, disdain or any other negative feelings, especially in front of others. Blaming your colleagues or subordinates and not being supportive of your team or project group will create a gap in the trust of others in you. Not having confidence and constantly checking the work of your peers, for example in the case of micromanagement, or not showing respect or empathy may reduce your colleagues' or subordinates' desire to collaborate.

In short, all behaviour that is not respectful towards others will harm you. Respect your colleagues and they will respect you.

Full integrity

Two important concepts seem to me to need to be included in this article because they are part of integrity: wholeness of our integrity and consistency. These three qualities must be present in our actions, our words, our working methods, our decisions, and their consequences.

If we have full integrity, we are ourselves in all circumstances.

Don't do to others what you wouldn't like to be done to you

If you are not honest at work and one of your behaviours comes to light, your colleagues, your team, your suppliers will no longer believe you and your customers will no longer support you. Set an example, even when no one is looking at you, be authentic, consistent and transparent. You will thus gain the trust of all.

Melanie Blaser

English version reviewed by Kelly Moore. This article was first published in French on joHdi. Original title: "Pourquoi faut-il être intègre au travail?".

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