How to Be a Great Employee
Did you know the average adult is awake 16 hours a day?
For those of us who don’t always work from home, that includes one hour to prepare for work, 30 minutes each way driving there and back, and at least eight hours at the office Monday-Friday.
Right there, we already have 10 out of our 16 allotted hours.
Now let’s contrast that with the time we invest at church. For some people, it’s just an hour a week. Quite the difference!
Now, admittedly, it is difficult and even impractical to try to even those amounts out too much. We do need to earn a living for ourselves and our families. So it makes sense that so much of our lives are invested in preparation for work and actually doing that work. But this hardly means we have to neglect out Christianity.
Far from it, in fact.
That’s why God’s presence in the workplace matters so much! This time-consuming setting offers great opportunities to encourage those who already know Christ and to witness to those who don’t.
Most of us probably don’t work for an organization that outwardly expresses our Christian beliefs. But we’re called to be ambassadors of Christ and reflect Him in our lives regardless, including when we’re on the job.
The Bible has a lot to say about the importance of work and how we should conduct ourselves in it. Two examples include (NIV):
Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
As such, let’s explore some of the important values that Christians should demonstrate in the workplace. The one I want to share today is integrity, with many more to come in future articles.
Proverbs 10:9 (NIV) reads:
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”
I’m sure we can all think of examples where people (maybe even us) didn’t show integrity in the workplace. These behaviors include the C.Y.A., or covering your you-know-what, method; throwing others under the bus; telling untruths; calling in “sick”; and having affairs with coworkers.
If it weren’t for the prevalence of such conduct, we wouldn’t need to have so many workplace policies on codes of conduct, harassment, social media activity, and the like.
But what exactly is integrity? It might be easy to spot when people lack it. But what does it mean when we have it?
Integrity denotes a deep commitment to do the right thing for the right reason, regardless of the circumstances – even when no one is watching, C.S. Lewis. It includes a sense of honesty, dependability, and consistency of character.
People with integrity adhere to moral company policies. They own up to their mistakes. They are honest and don’t tell untruths. They are trustworthy and dependable.
The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. So it’s an inner sense and outer expression of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as sincerity and consistent character.
Consider these questions to self-assess your own personal integrity:
- Do you portray yourself differently depending on who you’re with?
- Do you admit your mistakes?
- Are you honest at all times?
- Can others depend on you to do what you say you’ll do?
Our integrity is tested on a daily basis by a culture that’s normalized falsehood and dishonesty. This might involve cheating on an exam, fudging a business expense, downloading music illegally, taking office supplies from work, or telling little white lies.
They might seem small in the moment. Even necessary. But those sorts of actions can chip away at our souls little by little.
On the flipside, Scripture tells us many benefits of living with integrity:
- It can give us promotions in the right way (Nehemiah 7).
- It grants favor and honor, and opens the door for good things to come into our lives (Psalm 84:11).
- It can help us find contentment (Proverbs 19:1).
- It brings clarity and guidance to our lives (Proverbs 37:18).
- It helps us be more like Jesus (Matthew 22:16).
King David also shed some light on integrity in Psalm 26:1-3 (NIV):
“Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me; examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.”
You can see here that the root of David’s integrity is his relationship with God. As it should be for us.
How Can You Be Sure That Your Integrity Guides Your Actions?
In order to claim integrity as part of your identity, you have to commit to acting on it. It’s not always easy, but it ends up being very worthwhile when you:
- Keep your word.If you say you’re going to do something, then do it! If you say you’re going to be somewhere, then be there! We all know those people we can’t really count on.Don’t be one of those people! Otherwise, we’re bound to see Jeremiah 22:12 (NIV) applied to our lives: “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.”
- Tell the truth.Mark Twain said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” It’s easier and the right thing to do. Even little white lies eat away at your integrity.
- Don’t gossip.Keep your confidence, and don’t talk about others behind their backs. Proverbs 11:13 (NIV) counsels us that, “A gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate confidence”
- Work hard.Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (NIV). If you’re a believer, your real boss is God. So whether or not anybody else sees your work, God does.That’s why 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) reads, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
- Act consistently.A person of integrity doesn’t act one way in church, another way at work, and another way in social settings. In addition, he or she treats the janitor with the same level of respect as the CEO.God is never changing. He is faithful, trustworthy, true, and loyal. He can be counted on. And he wants us to follow his example, as shown in Proverbs 11:3 (NIV), which reads, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”
In short, each one of us in the workplace has a responsibility to bring positivity and encouragement to the workplace. Let these tips and recommendations lift you to higher levels of performance.
For further actionable insights, reach out to In HIS Name HR here. We help organizations build high-performance human resource programs designed to build your workplace into the productive, engaging, effective, integrity-filled space you want it to be.
Contact us today! You, your students, faculty, and employees will be grateful you did.