People with true integrity who don’t bend the rules are hard to find. They’re few and far between because staying genuine and true to your values is incredibly tough in today’s world of fast gratification and short attention spans.
But if you want to find out whether someone, or perhaps you, has true integrity, there are some simple ways to do it.
So without further delay, let’s see what they are!
1) They stand up for others
You can easily recognize people with integrity as the ones that stand up for those who don’t have a voice or are facing unjust treatment.
That doesn’t just mean the homeless or the animals, the ones we typically associate with not having a voice or influence.
It could simply be a co-worker that others pick on, something that’s still a regular occurrence in many workplaces.
It could also be a fellow student, a friend, or a complete stranger – people with true integrity don’t differentiate people.
Above all, they advocate for fairness and support others even when it’s not personally advantageous for them.
2) They respect others
Treating everyone with respect, regardless of their background or status, is a hallmark of integrity.
People with this trait value the dignity of others and show kindness and empathy in their interactions.
As I just mentioned above, people with integrity treat everyone fairly and impartially. They don’t show favoritism or discriminate based on personal biases but stick to a sense of justice in their interactions.
For example, an employer with true integrity understands the importance of work-life balance for their employees.
They encourage a flexible schedule, allowing employees to deal with personal matters while still meeting their work commitments, showing respect for them as people.
I worked in many jobs and positions and know firsthand how rare that is.
3) They give credit
The next sign of people with integrity is that they give credit where it’s due. They don’t take credit for other people’s ideas or work and acknowledge the contributions of others without seeking attention for themselves.
For example, a group finishes a challenging project together. When they present their work, the person who showed great leadership skills gets praised by their boss.
The boss talks about what each person did to help and says that the success happened because everyone worked together as a team.
It’s the best of both worlds as the person most responsible gets credited for that, but also the others involved get recognized as well.
4) They’re humble
“I’m warm in the winter, I’m cool in the summer; it’s convenient for me.”
– Warren Buffett about the home he’s owned since 1958
I recently realized that true integrity is also accompanied by humility. People with integrity don’t boast about their achievements or seek attention for their actions.
In fact, they own their accomplishments without looking for praise and validation from others.
I actually had to look up if that’s true because it just seems so unbelievable. And yes, it is true.
He bought the house built in 1921 in 1958 for $31,500 ($330k in today’s money). He never felt the need to buy a mansion to live in as other billionaires do. In fact, others own a dozen mansions across the world.
5) They’re consistent
Another thing Warren Buffett is displaying is consistency.
When someone’s actions align with their words, it demonstrates reliability. People with integrity are consistent in their behavior, so you can expect them to act predictably, regardless of the situation.
That’s another thing that’s rare in today’s society, don’t you think?
I’ve often seen how people flip-flopped on their opinions as public opinion changed.
Should you be able to change your opinion as you find out new information? Absolutely! In fact, I’d like it if more people did that.
But the sad truth is they stick to their faulty beliefs even when faced with overwhelming evidence.
That doesn’t make them principled, just stupid.
6) They admit mistakes
Let me ask you something. How willing are you to admit you made a mistake? Not just to others, but to yourself, too?
Those with integrity are humble enough to admit when they’ve made a mistake. They take ownership of their errors, apologize genuinely, and take steps to fix the situation. If needed.
On the other side, we have people who dodge responsibility like a cat avoiding a bath.
7) They’re trustworthy
People who lack a strong moral compass are more likely to act in their own self-interest without considering the consequences for others.
Others are insecure, have a desire for control, are entitled, or have some other character flaw that makes them untrustworthy.
In contrast, you can rely on people with true integrity to keep their promises and honor their commitments.
Plus, they’re great at respecting confidentiality and don’t share any sensitive information without permission.
8) They choose hard truths
People with integrity don’t shy away from addressing uncomfortable truths, even when it’s easier to ignore or deny them. For most of us, even for me, that’s not always the case.
But honorable people always prioritize the truth over personal comfort.
For example, a social worker informs parents their child has to go into protective custody due to concerns about their well-being. Even though it’s a heart-wrenching truth to share, they do it regardless.
9) They handle power responsibly
When in a position of power, a person with integrity uses their influence responsibly and ethically. They prioritize the well-being of others and avoid abusing their authority.
Unfortunately, positions of power aren’t filled with moral people but those embracing power for their own gain.
You don’t need to look further than politicians of all levels, that use their positions mostly to trade influence and line their pockets.
10) They help and volunteer
True integrity also includes a willingness to help others without expecting anything in return. People with this trait offer assistance and support, showing selflessness in their actions.
They often engage in acts of kindness or charity without the need for recognition or praise. They genuinely want to help others without drawing attention to themselves.
How many people do you know that act like that? Probably not many.
I can’t say I’m surprised. Helping others often requires empathy, compassion, and even grit, just like the following act.
11) They support unpopular causes
Yes, people with true integrity regularly stand up for unpopular causes or beliefs that align with their values.
They aren’t swayed by public opinion when it comes to matters of principle.
For example, the Pakistani education activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai advocated for girls’ education in regions where the Taliban restricted access to education for females.
Her activism gathered international support but also faced opposition in some conservative communities.
Taliban leaders even unanimously agreed to kill her, and a gunman shot her as she rode home on a bus after taking an exam in Pakistan.
In the face of all this, she wasn’t rocked and still supports the issues more than 10 years later.
12) They’re open to feedback
Someone with integrity is open to receiving feedback, whether positive or constructive. They view feedback as an opportunity to grow and improve.
That’s not a small thing. Many people are far on the opposite spectrum and not only dismiss feedback but deny and go on the defensive, even when they know deep inside that they’re wrong.
It’s hard to deal with such people; unfortunately, we find them all around us.
When you now think about these signs, habits, and acts, how many people do you know that behave with integrity?
Are you one of them? To learn more about this topic, read “People with true integrity have these 18 awesome traits“.