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Last Updated on April 23, 2020

13 Ways to Demonstrate Integrity in the Workplace

13 Ways to Demonstrate Integrity in the Workplace

Integrity isn’t the sort of asset you would claim on your resume, but it is a highly sought-after quality. A potential employer may never ask, “Are you a person with sound moral principles?” But most employers and hiring managers are looking to see that you are.

Rather than a specific skill, integrity is a bundle of traits, including honesty and an ability to adhere to moral and ethical principles. When taken together, these traits show that you are a quality individual that’s worthy of being hired.

A Hot Topic Across Industries: Integrity

Once you are on staff, you become a representative of the company, and your behavior becomes inextricably linked to its performance and its reputation. You must act with integrity in all business relationships — with coworkers, customers, vendors, and members of the community.

Companies are actively working to instill integrity into their business practices. In an effort to convey their emphasis on ethnical and socially responsible ways of doing business, nearly 200 CEOs recently signed a statement of commitment to, among other pledges, foster diversity, inclusion, dignity, and respect for employees.[1]

How to Demonstrate Integrity in the Workplace

Integrity begins with your individual choice to always act in accordance with strong moral principles, no matter the situation. By exhibiting integrity in all your work interactions, you will exude unwavering confidence and purpose[2]. Others will become inspired by your way of interacting and your steadfast accountability.

Here are 13 ways to demonstrate integrity in the workplace. Keep these attributes top-of-mind when conducting business, and you will soon be known as a person of integrity.

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1. Tell the Truth

It’s easy to be transparent when the news is good. You won a new piece of business, wooed a client, or made that all-important sale. When the news is positive, you shout it from the rooftops (or at the next staff meeting, anyway).

But how do you behave when the news is bad? How do you tell your boss the difficult news that the client was unmoved by the presentation? Or that a critical meeting did not go as planned? You tell the truth. Most bosses will forgive a few lackluster presentations if you tell the unvarnished truth. At least your boss knows you can be trusted.

2. Don’t Publicize Negativity

Your boss took a risk on you when he hired you. The last thing he wants to hear is that you are repaying his loyalty by looking for a new job. Or that you’ve been griping about the company on Facebook or other social media.

While you want to be transparent about your wins and losses to your boss and colleagues, you should resist bad-mouthing the company or anyone you work with. Demonstrate integrity in the workplace by keeping your gripes about your boss to yourself.

3. Don’t Abuse Your Position

Continually show your employer that you are worthy of the trust she put in you to do your best work. Demonstrate your integrity by never abusing any of your freedom and autonomy with personal phone calls, Internet searches, or too much socializing with coworkers. In addition, when you always deliver on what you promise, others will trust that you are a woman or man of your word.

4. Offer Respect to Every Colleague

Set a great example by respecting your colleague’s boundaries — both physical and emotional. If you work in a cubicle, don’t yell at your coworkers through the felt walls. Instead, email or text them and ask if you can pop by for a few minutes. Behave as if every person on staff has a door to their cubicle, and knock on it only in an emergency.

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If you notice that a colleague looks stressed or anxious, offer to help ease some of his/her workload. (If they reject your offer, respect that, too.) Furthermore, you show respect by giving others a chance to be heard and honoring their opinions and input.

5. Be Forthcoming With Important Information

Demonstrating integrity means you always stick to the truth when representing your company’s products and services. In any business interaction, you know never to distort the truth or cover up the facts. For example, let your customer know, “Our product doesn’t have the capability to do what you’ve just described, though it can meet these requirements.”

6. Give Credit Where It’s Due

In certain companies, it is hard to get the credit you deserve. However, you will find that the more you credit others with helping you out, the more credit you will accrue in return. Giving credit where it’s due helps foster camaraderie. “I could not have completed this project without Linda’s phenomenal assistance,” you can say. Better, thank Linda in an email and copy all who worked on the project.

7. Try Collaboration Instead of Competition

Some workplaces promote competition between teams for plum assignments, for new business pitches, and for developing software applications. Strive to foster a friendly rivalry rather than a cutthroat one. You will portray yourself as a team player, and others will want to work with you.

Let others know that you’re willing to share the direction you’re exploring and the information you’re uncovering in hopes of arriving at the best solution collaboratively.

8. Value Diversity

A diverse workplace allows colleagues with different backgrounds and viewpoints to find better solutions. If you are in Human Resources (or not), encourage your team to bring diverse minds to solve the challenges before you. As the old adage says, “Two heads (or four, six, eight or twenty) are better than one.”

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9. Be Accountable for Your Actions

Only cowards pass the buck. Those with integrity take responsibility, even when it means having to admit one’s shortcomings. “I think we did not study the competition deeply enough,” you can say to your team. “But I have an approach that will help us all get smarter, faster.”

When you’re accountable each and every time, your team will rally behind you when needed.

10. Meet All Deadlines

Integrity in the workplace starts with honoring deadlines. No one, least of all your boss, wants to hear the many reasons why you couldn’t honor a deadline. All she wants to hear is that the work is ready.

You will prove yourself a person of integrity if you come through when you say you will. (It may help to under-promise on the delivery date by a few days to give yourself the cushion you need to complete the work on time.)

11. Practice Open Communication

When others report to you, they want candid communication about their job performance. If you have to review someone who is underperforming, you owe it to them to let them know what he/she is doing wrong. Then, outline the steps they can take to improve. Work out a timeline for when you will both meet again to see if they have been able to turn things around.

Integrity in the workplace means handling the difficult conversations with grace and professionalism.

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12. Uphold Moral Standards of the Job

If you know someone at the office who is stealing money or accepting bribes, you must report the violation, even if it is uncomfortable to do so. Similarly, if you know of a colleague who is harassing or bullying coworkers, you need to report the behavior. Find out the procedures, and report the person. You may feel ostracized by the person, but everyone else on the team will respect you all the more.

13. Approach Challenges With Courage

Showing courage in each aspect of your professional life demonstrates integrity. It may mean having to go back to a client with new information that proves something you stated was wrong. Or it may mean standing up to a boss who wants to cut corners in a way that makes the workplace unsafe. (This is best done in private, rather than calling the boss’s integrity into question in public, although if you aren’t able to change their mind, you may need to enlist another boss.)

Final Thoughts

Integrity is the common denominator of a rewarding and successful career. By demonstrating integrity in the workplace, you’re able to find balance between respect and responsibility. Not only will your positive attributes lead you to have better relationships with coworkers, but you will find more fulfillment from your work because you know you’re performing in alignment with your best self.

Become a model of integrity in your workplace. You will set the tone for appropriate behavior and overall professionalism across your organization. The rewards will come in the form of mutual respect and rapid advancement.

More Tips on Integrity

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Vicky Oliver

Author of 6 best-selling books on job-hunting and job interview questions, business etiquette, frugalista style, advertising, and office politics.

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

Have you been stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

  • Taking a job for the money
  • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
  • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
  • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
  • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

There are many other reasons why you may be feeling this way, but let’s focus instead on learning what to do now in order to get unstuck and get promoted

One of the best ways to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization. Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or do some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrate added value?

Let’s dive right in to how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position.

1. Be a Mentor

When I supervised students, I used to warm them — tongue in cheek, of course — about getting really good at their job.

“Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else.”

This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some truth in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

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This can get you stuck.

Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:

“Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role…You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong ‘personal brand’ equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call ‘a good problem to have’: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done ‘too’ good of a job!”[1]

With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

From Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

Let’s say that the project you do so well is hiring and training new entry-level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, make hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

Are there any team members who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

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  1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
  2. As a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower them to increase their job skills.
  3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job and creating team players.

Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

2. Work on Your Mindset

Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is explained through this quote:

“If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you—not the job—who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”[2]

In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings to help you learn how to get promoted. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

Present your case and show your boss or supervisor that you want to be challenged, and you want to move up. You want more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and the positive mindset you’ve cultivated.

3. Improve Your Soft Skills

When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills[3].

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Use soft skills when learning how to get promoted.

    According to research, improving soft skills can boost productivity and retention 12 percent and deliver a 250 percent return on investment based on higher productivity and retention[4]. Those are only some of the benefits for both you and your employer when you want to learn how to get promoted.

    You can hone these skills and increase your chances of promotion into a leadership role by taking courses or seminars.

    Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

    Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has a position similar to the one you want.

    Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of their meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what their secret is! Take copious notes, and then immerse yourself in the learning.

    The key here is not to copy your new mentor. Rather, you want to observe, learn, and then adapt according to your strengths.

    4. Develop Your Strategy

    Do you even know specifically why you want to learn how to get promoted? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one-year, five-year, or ten-year plan for your career path? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what”?

    Sit down and make an old-fashioned pro and con list.

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    Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

    Look at your lists and choose the most exciting pros and the most frustrating cons. Do those two pros make the cons worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes,” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want[5].

    The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain

    Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    • Why do you do what you do?
    • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
    • What does a great day look like?
    • What does success look and feel like beyond the paycheck?
    • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

    Define success to get promoted

      These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your work friends over coffee.

      Final Thoughts

      After considering all of these points and doing your best to learn how to get promoted, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. Then, you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

      Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose.

      More Tips on How to Get Promoted

      Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

      Reference

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