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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

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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 January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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