Acting with integrity means understanding, accepting, and choosing to live in accordance with one’s principles, which will include honesty, fairness, and decency. A person of integrity will consistently demonstrate good character by being free of corruption and hypocrisy.
Integrity is revealed when people act virtuously regardless of circumstance or consequences. This often requires moral courage. Indeed, integrity is the critical connection between ethics and moral action.
“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching”
C S Lewis
The word integrity comes from the same Latin root as “integer,” or whole number. Like a whole number, a person of integrity is undivided and complete. This means that the ethical person acts according to her beliefs, not according to expediency. She is also consistent. There is no difference in the way she makes decisions from situation to situation, her principles don’t vary at work or at home, in public or alone.
Because she must know who she is and what she values, the person of integrity takes time for self-reflection, so that the events, crises and seeming necessities of the day do not determine the course of her moral life. She stays in control. She may be courteous, even charming, but she is never duplicitous. She never demeans herself with obsequious behavior toward those she thinks might do her some good. She is trusted because you know who she is: what you see is what you get.
People without integrity are called “hypocrites” or “two-faced.”