“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” Warren Buffet
Integrity is one the most important character traits in a person. Integrity is how you judge if a person is trustworthy or not. Here are some definitions of integrity:
Merriam-Webster: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
Oxford Dictionaries: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles
Macmillan: the quality of always behaving according to the moral principles that you believe in, so that people respect and trust you.
Wikipedia: a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.
When you hire someone with integrity, you are hiring someone who is honest, is moral and can be trusted to perform the task that they’ve been entrusted with. In essence, you will have someone who will watch your back.
When you combine intelligence and energy with integrity, you have someone you can trust to run your organization for you, someone who doesn’t need to be watched or supervised. Someone who will have your best interest in mind when making decisions, not theirs.
If you only look for intelligence and energy in people, and hire someone without integrity, your troubles have just begun. You will no longer sleep soundly at night. You will have someone very intelligent and full of energy going after their own agenda. Rather than looking out for what’s best for you or your organization, they will be looking out for what’s best for themselves. They will use that intelligence and energy to lie, cheat and steal to get what they what.
A person without integrity will have you believe they have your best interests in mind in order to get what they’re after. Once they get what they want, their true colors will appear. Heaven help you and your organization if you put someone with intelligence and energy but no integrity into a position of power.
You can educate someone to improve their intelligence level. You can motivate someone to give them more energy. Their is absolutely nothing you can do to improve a persons level of integrity. It is a character trait. It is something which defines who a person is. Integrity is developed over time, from childhood until you die. It can change, but usually takes a catastrophic event to cause a person to change.