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A lack of integrity can devour credibility – especially if you’re in a position of authority.

Being “out of integrity” in our society is almost unforgiveable:

  • He’s a hypocrite.
  • She’s a liar.
  • He can’t be counted on.
  • You can’t trust her; she says one thing and does another.

These character judgments are part of the reason so few people admit to mistakes and lean on weak excuses for lack of follow-through.  And it is this fear of being judged that quietly destroys workplace cultures.

And yet we’re all human.  We’ve all failed on a New Year’s resolution.  We’ve all arrived late to an appointment.  We’ve all had the best of intentions.

And our nature is to forgive someone who comes to us with hat in hand, who owns their rubbish and commits to a different future way of being.

So what if integrity wasn’t a question of morality, ethics or character?  But rather, simply one of workability.

When someone on your team is out of integrity, you can easily say, “this isn’t working.”  And then work with them to get back in integrity – on the project, on the communication, on the commitments, etc.

Inspired by and reorganized from a quote by Landmark Education, here is the Whole Integrity checklist:

WHOLE Integrity checklist:

☐ Nothing hidden
☐ Being truthful and honest
☐ Doing complete work
☐ Working from an empowering context*
☐ Doing very well what you do
☐ Doing it as it was meant to be done or better without cutting corners
☐ Honoring one’s word
☐ Doing what you know to do
☐ Doing what you said you would do and on time
☐ Doing what others would expect you to do even if you haven’t said you would do it**
☐ Saying when you are not doing this as soon as you realize you won’t be doing it or won’t be doing it on time

*Empowering context means one refers to coming from a place of commitment and agreement.  You’re not disparaging, undermining or bemoaning the task at hand.

•  “I’m only doing this because he said I had to do it.”
•  “This is stupid, but I’ll do it anyway.”
•  “I think this is a waste of time, but someone’s got to do it.”

We are all responsible for our words and actions.  If you think it’s a waste of time, constructively have the conversation to find out why the person who asked you to complete said task thinks it’s worth your time.

**This is the one where people bristle. What?  I have to have integrity with something I didn’t agree to?  Yes.  It’s what’s expected of you.  And you very likely are aware of those expectations, and unless you openly negotiate them, you are responsible for meeting them.  For all the parents out there, has your child ever pulled, “You just said I have to go to bed, you didn’t say I have to go to sleep.”

Dive in to CultureWorks for more insights on integrity and loads of other juicy leadership topics!

Culture Works has been endorsed by many CEOs and thought leaders including:

  • Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness
  • Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage
  • Marshall Goldsmith, one of the top ten Most-Influential Business Thinkers in the World
  • Brian Tracy, author of Full Engagement


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2.8 min readLast Updated: October 12th, 2021Published On: March 31st, 2015Categories: Employee Performance Improvement, Leadership and Management SkillsTags:

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