What are the character traits of people with integrity?
Integrity is the qualifications of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. In ethics, integrity is regarded by many people as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.
Having integrity means following what is right no matter where you are, what you are, who you are with, and what it’s for. It’s an admirable personality shows moral compass of person that doesn’t waver. It literally means having “wholeness” of character, just as an integer is a “whole number” with no fractions.
C.S. Lewis said that Integrity is what you do when no one else is watching you.
Okay, that’s a good place to start. But what does it mean?
There is more to integrity than just being you even when no one is watching. It’s about doing the right thing, even when people don’t support you. It’s about being the better man. It’s about becoming a better person even if there is no one else in the equation. Integrity is one of those moral code kind of things that shape you as a person.
Real integrity is one of the hardest things to spot in people. It’s a character trait that a person who truly posses it will hardly show it in public or brag about. It’s a trait that most people can easily fake and one that doesn’t need to show in most interactions.
But there are a couple of subtle signs that clearly state if someone has integrity!
This is what all people with REAL integrity have in common:
1. They give credit where it is due.
People with real integrity are not scared to give compliments when someone deserved them. They will not judge anyone about their flaws because it’s not their job to do that. However, if they feel someone deserves a compliment, they will give one. It’s how they appreciate and honor things that are good.
2. They recognize that everyone’s time and attention has value.
People with integrity will not keep you waiting to get a reply. They know that your time is valuable. They will say thanks when you do something for them, even if it’s something really small. They do this not because of you, but because they appreciate their own time and attention.
3. They know that humbling themselves and apologizing sincerely doesn’t make anyone weaker.
A simple walk in the park will show you two kinds of families. One, where the parents have to overpower the children to make them listen, and the second, where the parents guide the children in a simple and friendly manner. The second group are not saints. They too get tired of their children’s antics. But they resort to problem solving, not violence or verbal abuse. The difference again is integrity. Integrity helps you get perspective from the weaker man’s point of you. Children who see their parents apologizing freely learn that being wrong sometimes is okay. And when they grow up, they still practice that.
4. They have awareness and forgiveness for other people’s mistakes.
Anyone who has been in a huge traffic jam (most of us, really) knows how touchy everyone is. If one car goes a little slow up ahead, the entire queue slams on their horn and blares till he speeds up. When really, the difference is a few seconds more or less. A person aware of other people’s needs makes allowances for such things. People with integrity don’t do that snap anger, but they don’t judge people that snap anger comes easily to either. Forgiveness and integrity go hand in hand, as does mindfulness.
5. They never generalize people and give them the benefit of a doubt at least once.
People with integrity know that an individual rarely represents a whole group. They know that in every group there are good people and weak people. They know that we are all different and we all deserve a chance to choose to be better people. There are no groups and prejudices in their perception. All they see is different people with different stories, all with the same right to prove themselves as a good person.
6. They trust other people to keep their word.
That doesn’t mean you should hand your bank details out. But give people a chance to make a case for themselves. You never know a stranger’s story. People with integrity give others the space to recover, even if they make a mistake.
7. They volunteer for good causes and become a part of something bigger than themselves.
There is a certain happiness and contentment that comes from doing something for your fellow people, whether it’s neighbors, or a pet shelter, or a charity. Being a part of something bigger than yourself helps you understand your own self better and the importance of becoming a better person. You realize that your betterment affects the whole world.
8. They are able to disagree without the need to argue.
The ability to disagree with resorting to nastiness is a big part of integrity. Maybe you and your partner both have had bad days. Maybe you’re both tired, or feel strongly on an issue. But how you handle your disagreement stems from integrity. We can share different opinions without squabbling about it. It helps us communicate more freely too. A huge argument with curse words flying around helps no one’s case. Ever.
9. They don’t want to manipulate.
Everyone has the right to choose their own path. People with real integrity respect this. That’s why they don’t want to manipulate others into doing something, even if that something is what these other people really need. They let them make their own choices because, even if they make a mistake, it’s theirs. And by practicing the freedom to choose by yourself, you’ll learn how to avoid making mistakes eventually. That’s what people with integrity offer others.
Integrity may seem like hard word, but it is a quality worth working hard for. With time, it just becomes part of who you are.