So what is Integrity? It’s the qualifications of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. It’s generally a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards and firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. It’s perhaps the most important principle of leadership it demands truthfulness and honesty. ... Integrity means telling the truth even if the truth is ugly. Better to be honest than to delude others, because then you are probably deluding yourself, too. Integrity means following your moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching you. Having integrity means you are true to yourself and would do nothing that demeans or dishonours you.

Quotes on integrity from Web to Success...

The message here is clear. The buck stops with us. Do not pass it on. Don’t blame anyone or anything else or look for excuses. We need to make every decision with care and prove ourselves trustworthy to all those we interact with.’

‘If we’re not honest about the building blocks of self-awareness, then the whole concept will crumble as we try to build on it later.’

‘As a result of our integrity, we’ll attract other people with the same values as ourselves who will seek to learn from us. The more we practice it, the better we become.’

The True Meaning of Integrity

By So-Young Kang

As we consider the broader topic of ‘Spirituality and Transformative Leadership,’ I felt it only apt to start with defining the core concept of integrity which is about the fullness of self and requires a spiritual and transformative journey. I will be sharing more content on this but to get started...what is the true meaning of integrity? Integrity is one of the most misunderstood and misused words...

Here are 3 common myths I have often heard:

1) Integrity = just being honest 2) Balanced and compartmentalized life = life of integrity 3) Being in integrity = natural, effortless, just ‘part of who you are’

When I look at the definition of integrity, it’s defined as a “concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.”

Let me call out the key words in this definition that are often missed. Consistency. honesty, and truthfulness… of one’s actions.

Consistency is about being the same regardless of the situation. Consistency is a choice that we make… every single day, even when the situation or environment is not great.

Honesty… of one’s actions requires intentionality and thought. How honest or accurate are your behaviors, actions, and words with other people that you lead?

Integrity stems from the Latin word ‘integer’ which means whole and complete. So integrity requires an inner sense of ‘wholeness’ and consistency of character. When you are in integrity, people should be able to visibly see it through your actions, words, decisions, methods, and outcomes. When you are ‘whole’ and consistent, there is only one you. You bring that same you wherever you are, regardless of the circumstance. You don’t leave parts of yourself behind. You don’t have a ‘work you,’ a ‘family you,’ and a ‘social you.’ You are YOU all the time.

Given the real definition of integrity, we recognize that it is actually extremely difficult to be in integrity 100% of the time. We aspire to be in integrity with what we believe but sometimes, we mess up. Sometimes, our emotions get the best of us and we are unable to intentionally manage our behavior and actions. Sometimes, we don’t give ourselves permission to be our true selves out of fear of what others may think or due to an inability to truly ‘integrate’ the various parts of ourselves into ONE, complete WHOLE person.

So, what does it take to be someone who leads with integrity? Consciousness and choice. I believe that there are at least 6 things that great leaders choose to do to be on a journey towards greater integrity:

1) Understands the true definition of integrity.

2) Intentionally reflects on what to say, how to behave, how to make decisions in a way that is reflective of his/her values and beliefs.

3) Is the same authentic person regardless of the situation. You can meet this leader with their family, friends, church, or at a boardroom, and you will see a consistency in behavior, actions, and words. You will recognize this person no matter what environment he/she is in.

4) Recognizes the impact that he/she has on others. This leader is conscious of how his/her behavior and words impacts those around them intentionally and often times, unintentionally. So when this leader behaves in a way that is out of integrity, he/she stops, acknowledges, apologizes, and corrects course. This requires humility, authenticity, and ‘others-centeredness’ as you need to ‘see’ how others are responding to you.

5) Actively focuses on the development of character and wholeness. This leader spends time intentionally on this area through various areas, such as reading, getting coached, listening to the counsel of others, going to leadership development courses, and reflecting on how to develop character.

6) Enrolls others to be on the same journey. This leader aims to walk in integrity and as others see that, they are drawn to this. They can have confidence in this leader with the belief that this leader will do what he/she says and believes. They are able to inspire others to be on the same journey of lifelong pursuit of ‘wholeness’ and ultimately, INTEGRITY.

When I see people who really have integrity, I recognize it. Don’t you?

Preserving Integrity

Consistently Making the Right Choices. Many of us have to make decisions that define who we are and what we believe in. Most often, the choices we face may seem insignificant. But this doesn't mean that they're not important to us: even the smallest action can have an impact on our self-respect, our integrity, and, ultimately, our reputation.

In a world where headlines are often dominated by people who make the wrong choices, people who make the right ones can seem to be rare. However, it feels good to live and work with integrity and, when we become known for this highly valued trait, our lives and our careers can flourish.

What is Integrity? Integrity is a characteristic that many of us value in ourselves, and it's one we look for consistently in our leaders.

But what does it really mean to have integrity? You could say that integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn't easy. Or, you might see integrity as staying true to yourself and your word, even when you're faced with serious consequences for the choices that you're making. When we have integrity, we're whole and in perfect condition, and we're not compromised by awkward "inconsistencies."

When we live our lives with integrity, it means that we're always honest, and we let our actions speak for who we are and what we believe in. Integrity is a choice we make, and it's a choice we must keep making, every moment of our lives.

Why is Integrity Important? There are several reasons why integrity is so important.

First, living a life of integrity means that we never have to spend time or energy questioning ourselves. When we listen to our hearts and do the right thing, life becomes simple. Our life, and our actions, are open for everyone to see, and we don't have to worry about hiding anything.

When we have integrity, we gain the trust of our leaders, our colleagues and our team. We're dependable, and, when we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, we become role models for others to follow. All of this, in turn, directly impacts our success in life. People who live and work with integrity are more likely to be considered for promotions. Why? Because integrity is a hallmark of ethical leadership and organisations want leaders that they can trust, and when you demonstrate integrity, you show everyone you can be trusted.

How to Develop and Preserve Integrity. ‘The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.’ – Japanese Proverb

Your integrity is what determines your reputation, and, just as this proverb states, all it can take is a single bad choice to destroy a lifetime's worth of integrity.

So, how can you work on developing and preserving your own integrity?

Step 1: Define Your Values.

You can't live by values if you don't know what you truly believe in. So, start by defining your core values. These are the values that, no matter what the consequence, you're not going to compromise on.

Step 2: Analyse Every Choice You Make.

Often, people cut corners or make bad choices when they think no one is watching. Having integrity means that, no matter what, you make the right choice – especially when no one is watching! You'll usually know what's right and wrong, although sometimes you might need some quiet time to figure it out. If you're not sure what the right choice is, ask yourself these two questions. Remember, honesty and integrity aren't values that you should live by when it's convenient; they're values that you should live by all the time. This includes the big choices and the little choices – the choices everyone sees, and the choices that no one sees.

Step 3: Encourage Integrity.

People with integrity often have the same characteristics: they're humble, they have a strong sense of self, they have high self-esteem, and they're self-confident. These characteristics are important, because, sometimes, you'll be under intense pressure from others to make the wrong choice. Work on building and improving these characteristics within yourself, so that you have the strength and courage to do the right thing when the time comes. Build your self-confidence and self-esteem, and work on developing character. Spend time getting to know yourself, and what you believe in. Develop friendships and work relationships with others who demonstrate integrity, and who will support your decisions.

Further Tips:

Learn how to be assertive, so that you can defend an ethical position from an adult point of view, without whining or being aggressive.

Avoid white lies. They may seem harmless, but tiny lies are still lies. Always tell the truth.

Learn to take responsibility for your actions. If you make a mistake, own up to it immediately and do whatever it takes to right the situation.

Keep your word, and don't make promises that you know you can't keep.

Keep in mind that in times of fear, disaster and chaos, the temptation is even greater to make a wrong choice. Use these opportunities to demonstrate your true character.

Avoid seeming self-satisfied or priggish when you're acting with integrity: stay humble and down-to-earth, don't look for approval, and, where you sensibly can, try to let people save face.

Key Points

Having integrity means that you live in accordance to your deepest values, you're honest with everyone, and you always keep your word.

Integrity is a highly valued trait, especially in leaders. When you live with integrity, you're more likely to be considered for important promotions and leadership positions.

To develop and protect your integrity, start by identifying your core values. These are the values that you refuse to compromise on, no matter what. Next, analyze every choice you make to ensure that you're doing the right thing.

Then, develop a culture of integrity around you, work on building your self-confidence and self-esteem, and develop relationships with others who live with integrity.

The Three Biggest Reasons Why Integrity is So Important

Reason #1: Living, working, and leading in integrity means that we don’t question ourselves. When we listen to our hearts and do the right thing, life becomes simple, and we live in peace. Our actions are now open for everyone to see, and we don’t have to worry about hiding anything.

Reason #2: When we operate from integrity, we gain the trust of other people, especially those we work with closely. This is crucial especially for those in positions of leadership. Others see you as dependable and accountable for your actions. Trust develops, people feel safe in your presence, and you gain influence.

Reason #3: We become role models, whether we like it or not. Why? Because integrity is a hallmark of ethical leadership – companies, clients, co-workers, stakeholders, churches, communities, and families want leaders that they can trust, and when you demonstrate integrity, you show everyone you can be trusted and respected.

Integrity and Honesty : Important Attributes By: Jeff Durham

Having integrity and being honest are fundamental requirements if you want to grow spiritually and follow your true destination of personal development. It’s not simply about being honest with people. Whilst that will make you a better person and a more accepted one it’s more importantly about being honest with yourself.

Honesty v Dishonesty

Personal development or self-growth is all about fostering the positive qualities within yourself to enable you to lead a fuller, more enriched life and to rid yourself of negative qualities, feelings and emotions which have been holding you back.

If we’re honest in all that we do and say, it means we are genuine, real and true whereas dishonesty symbolises all that is fake, fictitious and unreal. Living your life honestly and with integrity means that you’ve decided to live openly and to show your true self to others and that you can be relied upon to be genuine. On the other hand, dishonesty is all about shade and concealment and living your life in ‘dark corners’. When you’re dishonest, it means that you remain living in the dark and cannot grow spiritually.

Honesty and integrity produce trust – trust in ourselves and in all those around us. Trust in turn produces confidence which we all need to conquer life’s problems and which also encourages us to take risks in order to fulfil our goals.

You’ll have no doubt heard expressions such as “what goes around, comes around” and “you get back, what you give out in life” and that’s very true. If we don’t live our lives honestly, we become shrouded in mystery. People are very adept at sensing dishonesty in others even if they think they’re the best liars on earth and if you hide behind a dark mask of suspicion, you can be assured that the people you’ll attract will turn out to be very similar to you and it’s therefore inevitable that one day you’ll be on the receiving end of someone’s dishonest actions or words.

Honesty at the Core

One of the key elements in any relationship, be it a personal or professional one, is the ability to trust and be trusted. Without trust, we have no credibility which is at the core of being able to influence people and provide strong leadership. Without honesty, there is no foundation upon which to build a personal relationship with someone you love.

The risk of temptation is most prevalent when we live our lives hovering between honesty and dishonesty. You’ll have no doubt been in a position where you’ve had the opportunity for gain in perhaps your career or some other situation attached to money or power. Some of you might even consider yourselves to be basically good and honest people but have, on occasion, turned a ‘blind eye’ or have been “economical with the truth” in order to gain something. However, if you truly respect yourself, you’ll often find yourself reflecting later and feeling bad about yourself because your gains were obtained through dishonest means. Therefore, you find that they were not really gains at all as they were obtained dishonestly and you may find your ‘inner self’ starting to beat you over the head over your indiscretion. So, were they really gains you made at all? The answer is ‘no.

Of course, being brutally honest all of the time can also backfire on you. There may be situations where telling the whole truth causes you to inflict a lot of pain and distress on somebody else. Some may even say that it’s better to be brutally honest all of the time than to be indecisive in what you say or do which could make matters worse.

However, in taking the decision that you are going to live your life honestly and openly, you will find that your life becomes enriched as a result as you reveal your true self which in turn will be reciprocated in the respect and honesty you’ll receive from others.


Integrity is the virtue of practicing what one preaches. Or more importantly, practicing what one believes is right. A 'man of principle' is not a man who understands a principle, but a man who understands, accepts, and lives by a principle. There are many reasons why integrity is a virtue.

The first and most important reason to practice one's beliefs is that if they are right, you will be benefiting your own life. To understand other virtues or principles, and not act by them, is destructive. It is an act against your own best interest. Any deviation from what you know to be right is an attack on your own life.

The second reason to practice integrity is that it is an affirmation that your ideas benefit your life. To act contrary to your own knowledge is accepting the premise that morality is somehow different from you own self interest, and that bypassing morality will somehow make your life better. Instead of seeing morality as a tool for survival, you see it as a restriction that make life more difficult. Every act that violates your integrity weakens the moral habit, until your emotions are unaligned with your thoughts. Further, it is an attack on the efficacy of one's mind. To act against your own ideas is to claim your own incompetence, or to claim the general inadequacy of reason to guide your life. Since reason is your means of survival, you will be abandoning your life.

A third reason to practice integrity is in dealing with others. A man who practices what he preaches is predictable, and few will feel threatened by it. Trust can develop, since others will come to realize you are consistently virtuous. To act without integrity, even occasionally, will leave others distrustful. This can negatively impact one's life in a number of ways. People won't allow themselves to become emotionally close to you. They won't trust that you'll pay back debts. They'll always fear your betrayal.

Quotes on integrity.

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not. - Oprah Winfrey

The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. - Bob Marley

The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love, and loyalty. - Zig Ziglar

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. - Samuel Johnson

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. - Douglas Adams

Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. - W. Clement Stone

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you. - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Don't worry so much about your self-esteem. Worry more about your character. Integrity is its own reward. - Laura Schlessinger

Perhaps the surest test of an individual's integrity is his refusal to do or say anything that would damage his self-respect. - Thomas S. Monson

One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised. - Chinua Achebe

It is true that integrity alone won't make you a leader, but without integrity, you will never be one. - Zig Ziglar

If you can maintain your standards and your integrity and you fail, it's OK. It's when you sell out and you fail that you feel pretty sick inside. - Bonnie Hunt

Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will. - Oliver Cromwell

Integrity has no need of rules. - Albert Camus

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