Businesses today prioritise a culture of integrity. Despite its common use, there is no universal definition of what integrity looks like in the workplace. Leadership experts break down its meaning and discover two pillars that help us demonstrate the right attributes when working from home or the office.

2:00 min

Defining integrity: it’s a mix of things

“Integrity is a bundle of traits,” explains Vicky Oliver, an award-winning career development author. As managers and team members, we all represent the organisation at different touchpoints of the business, and our actions are inseparably linked to the company’s brand, performance and reputation. At its core, a work culture that values integrity promotes a behavioural system that protects everyone from ethical lapses and energises them to act on the right values.

Pillar #1: Taking ownership

Embracing integrity also means owning all our actions and words, both the good and bad, explains Robert Chestnut, author of How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution. Building ownership at work implies taking proactive measures in our daily job duties by anticipating problems, offering solutions while supporting input from others, pursuing learning opportunities, and continuously asking for feedback to improve. Here are five steps to take more ownership at work today.

Pillar #2: Embracing accountability

High integrity leaders focus less on the “scorekeeping” part of accountability and more on the “progress” element, explains Ron Carucci, bestselling author of To Be Honest. In the workplace, accountability increases when “leaders believe their role is to create conditions in which people make their best contributions — and genuinely enjoy doing so.” When colleagues are encouraged to make decisions based on clear parameters, their actions reflect the organisation’s culture of trust, which builds high integrity teams in the process.