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13 Ways to Demonstrate Integrity in the Workplace

13 Ways to Demonstrate Integrity in the Workplace
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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

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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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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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