How To Maintain Professional Integrity
At your workplace, integrity can make the difference between you and another employee especially when it comes to handling critical or very sensitive clients or projects.
A failed trust is harder to remedy than simply maintaining professional integrity from the get-go. Some workers have been unable to continue in their careers because of the wrong things they did. Their bad reputation was their career’s killer. No other company in the same industry would want to be associated with them anymore. That’s the power of reputation.
So if you ask what our take on integrity is, we’ll say, “better to key into it early before you leave a trail of mistakes that will make it harder for you in the future”.
Trustworthiness comes from having integrity and we are yet to see a place where trust can be bought. It only comes with time. Right after your interactions in the workplace have been observed and tried. Yes, we said tried. Keep reading and you’ll understand more.
To have integrity means to stand by your word at all times. If you can nurture your image as a person of integrity, no position in your career will ever be beyond your reach.
Before we go into the ways of maintaining your professional integrity, you should know that benefits are so rewarding, you should make it a top priority. Here are some of them.
Benefits of Having Professional Integrity
Prevents Unnecessary Troubles
Think of your career ahead of you and maybe plans for a good retirement, those depending on you for support, your parents, children, etc, a lawsuit can take this all from you.
If you lose it’s bad and in some sensitive cases even when you win, your reputation may not come out of it unscathed because the public is still entitled to their opinions of what’s right and wrong.
All this can be avoided when you are honest. You have a higher chance of avoiding troubles like lawsuits and scandals can be easily defended.
You must realize people first buy you before they buy your product or service. If you, as a representative of the company are intertwined in scandals or misdemeanors, it also adversely affects your company.
Have you seen a companies’ PR explaining to the public why one of theirs was found in a negative position? They aim to cut off the offender from the company’s name (identity, entity). It’s like saying, “Though this person has done this, our company does not agree with it and will never agree with it”.
You might have also seen online campaigns targeted at individuals or companies. Some may carry the hashtag #boycott. Those with integrity hardly ever have to be put in this situation.
Loyal Customers/ Growth in Your Career
If your customers were asked to fill a performance record on you, would they have good things to say?
If you cannot be trusted, you will not be able to get some positions in the company. This is the reason many get sidelined when it’s time for promotion while others keep scaling higher.
As a person of integrity, you will surely be noticed by customers who will become loyal. Some clients are known to keep asking for particular employees. It’s not because they are pretty to look at but because they are good at what they do and be trusted. This preference keeps reflecting on the employee’s record and others are wondering why they keep scaling up the ladder.
Some companies call their customers to hear what they have to say about services rendered to them or the employee that attended to them. For someone with integrity, this is not a problem. Since they treat everyone with equal respect and dignity they deserve. They will always look good.
These loyal customers will also give you reviews that will add up to a terrific performance review.
Deceptive employees have to always be on guard against discovery. They never know when an accounting will be done, they need to take extra care to cover their tracks too but those with integrity are way different.
You will not need to find shortcuts or bribe anybody. You will know the feedbacks you get from people around you are honest, and indeed from your hard work. Also, because you work honestly, you will get better at what you do and also not to be taken lightly, that general peace of mind at the workplace.
Let’s tell the truth now, having a reputation as a person of value does not come easy. You will have to take difficult stands and make unusual decisions.
How rare people like this are that make them a wanted commodity. When you have been proven, many would want to be friends with you or simply be seen in association with you.
Also, you become an inspiration to others to behave the same in the company and outside the workplace. At this point, you are doing your part in making the world a better place.
How to Maintain Professional Integrity
The foundation of having integrity you must know is to never tell lies. Not to yourself, your colleagues, boss, or customers. You must say things the way they are without exaggerating or underplaying any of its aspects.
When it comes to taking a side, truth should not be compromised no matter the reason. Dispersing information on your products, yourself, and whatever should be done carefully.
Never Try to Cover Up Wrongs
Your intentions are great right now, to even think of reading up on integrity is recommendable.
The reality is no matter what inspiring your decisions to stand by some preconceived values of yours are it is always hard to own up to mistakes when they happen. Even harder to accept them, forgive yourself, and move on.
This is because mistakes in themselves invalidate your previous word, make you look like a fool or liar which is not true. They only prove you’re an imperfect person still growing.
So, if you’ve made mistakes in the past, forgive yourself. Tell yourself the truth, embrace the consequences, pick up what’s left, learn from your mistakes and continue. With time you will make repairs.
If you’ve not made any, then good. Prepare your mind to face those challenges when they come. Here’s a tip to help you: The more you stand by the truth, the easier it becomes.
Keep Your Promises
This includes promises you make
- To yourself- Things you will no longer do or will do. When you make promises like this where no one is watching and you are your judge, jury, and executioner, it is easier to wave off lots of decisions. Doing that makes you weaker as a person so do not. Instead, stick to them. You are cultivating personal integrity.
- To your customers: Every customer patronizes a brand because of the brand promise though they may not know this. Your company’s brand promise is the satisfaction your brand promises to fulfill or meet. You can usually see a glimpse of it from their taglines.
This brand promise is also your responsibility. Watch that this is fulfilled. You will need to man your gate, that part of the company or department you’ve been placed under. No slacking, no excuses. If even your side of the chain is wrong, you may deliver something short of the promise and in time you lose your customers.
- To your Organization: When you got added to the team, what you did was decide to join hands to achieve organizational goals so do just that. That’s what you owe them without excuses.
Make Your Stand Known
As a person of integrity, sitting on the fence cannot be a favorite pastime. You must take sides. Let everyone know your stand at all times…and early too.
It makes it easier for you to decide on cases since you already have a watchword. It also helps your colleagues know how best to deal with you. Some suggestions will not come near your desks.
In some companies, there are persons no one can gossip or mock their bosses, supervisors, or other colleagues with, not because they are tattletales or proud but because everyone already knows their stand – they will condemn the action immediately. Be that person.
To maintain professional integrity, you should not make promises you cannot keep. Help out around the office. You should make yourself deserving of others’ respect. Your colleagues and employer.
You cannot go about the workplace saying you’re a person of integrity, you show it. You should help out in the workplace. If you’re in a higher position, getting your juniors to do your portion of tasks does not speak well of you. Join in team meetings or gatherings, give opinions, and celebrate with them. Maintaining professional integrity surely does not mean becoming an island or setting yourself out to be a God, better than the rest of the workers. It will kill you early. Even if they don’t work with your same values, speaking down to them cannot get them to join you on your boat.
You can also be responsible by knowing your bias and working on them before real-life situations present themselves. Be an open book.
You have to be responsible enough to lead by example. No foolproof way of contradicting yourself and silently endorsing wrongs exists other than by saying one thing and doing the opposite.
To stand for truth also entails speaking against the opposite of the truth whenever you encounter it. At any level you see it be it your clients, partners, juniors, or superiors. Turning a blind eye means that things will continue to go wrong until they are out of hand. Rebuke falsity in all its forms, lies, falsification of documents, lying to customers, etc.
You need to keep doing whatever you are doing. Let consistency be your other name. If you can be consistent you can win more hearts.
Trust comes because something has been tested. You cannot be wavering like the wind and expect people to value your opinion, decisions, or results.
You cannot allow falsification of documents for yourself or a customer and not permit it the next time or the next person. It makes no sense at all.
You can liken this to another branch of consistency. Punctuality sets you off as a serious individual to your company or clients. Always having to give excuses for lateness is very unprofessional. You might have a very valid reason but it does not take away how untrustworthy it makes you look.
Be punctual to work, other destinations, and deadlines. Nothing screams integrity as someone who is so rarely late that when they do people have to ask what happened.
Stick to The Ethics of Your Profession
Do not live your life trying to find loopholes around rules and regulations. If you can stick to ethics, it will be easier to follow the rules of your profession. The rules without ethics cannot be complete.
You know what you ought to do, then do it without waiting for individuals or institutions to enforce the rules or threaten sanctions before you move.
In conclusion, maintaining professional integrity does not come from heaven, it is cultivated intentionally and carefully. It is impossible to have integrity in only one angle of your life. It first starts with you as a person, at home, in your relationship before it touches your workplace or career.