The Key Ingredients of Integrity

Are your daily actions demonstrating integrity?


Afshan Ali, founder of SkyHealth, explains that integrity has two main elements: introspection and refinement.

“Integrity is more than a declaration,” she says. “The introspection piece of it forces us to act mindfully and thoughtfully, instead of as an act of compliance… The refinement is having a commitment to continuously self-improve on our integrity.”

Watch the video to learn how certain behaviors demonstrate integrity in the workplace.

The foundation of my leadership style is integrity. And that's very important to me because it's a principle that I've seen both my parents demonstrate in both of their own small businesses that have existed for beyond 30 years.

Integrity is more than a declaration. It's also introspection and refinement. The introspection piece of it forces us to act mindfully and thoughtfully, instead of as an act of compliance. Not just doing the right thing, but really being invested in why we're doing the right thing. Is it tied to our own code of ethics? Is it tied to our moral code? Is the reason we're doing something in alignment with that?

So that's the introspective piece of it. The refinement is having a commitment to continuously self-improve on our integrity. So it might not be completely clear what the right choice. There might be two right choices and making the decision to choose one versus the other may cause you to have that internal struggle. And that internal struggle is good to have, because what it does is make you really reflect on, you know, "What I need to do in this context, and how do I use that in the next time I have to make a choice like this as well?" So we're constantly refining it. So with those two pieces, I think we can cover integrity at a deeper level and apply concepts that go beyond doing the right thing when someone's not looking and telling the truth and showing up.

For leaders, I think there are actions that we can do every day that demonstrate integrity. It is telling the truth. It is having good judgment and character, good values. But it's translating that into actions. So it is being accessible and showing up and being honest with the people that you work with or having empathy for them. And that specifically may look like keeping an hour open every day for open dialogue with the people that you surround yourself with, or returning calls within a 24-hour period instead of a week or not. So it's building trust that way and setting a tone of, you know, consistency, and that's how people find you to be a person of integrity.

When you don't have integrity, the choices that people make in dealing with you or working with you or how deeply they work with you come into play. They may not feel as comfortable working with you or trust your input equally, or trust that you'll do what you say you're going to do, and those have some pretty dire consequences, because if your employees or your co-workers don't find that you're a person with that level of integrity that they expect to work with, they'll shun away, and then that culture changes, and that culture gets translated externally as well.

If you are a person who would like to demonstrate integrity or work on your integrity in the workplace, you might exercise some behaviors. And those might include following through on a more consistent or regular basis. They may include simple things like returning phone calls in a timely manner and providing valuable information, and not just, "I'll find that out," but actually finding it out and coming back, and demonstrating that you did find it out and are resolving the problem, or trying to find a solution or additional information. You might also open your resources and network to solving the problem, so that it can get to a place where you can show that you're making an effort, and that builds integrity along the way.
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Afshan Ali

Afshan Ali is an innovative healthcare industry specialist. She is the founder of SkyHealth, and is a sought-after healthcare consultant. She is an accomplished leader with extensive healthcare, strategy, systems integration and imple...

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