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What Does Integrity Mean in the Workplace?

Karol Peters, MAADOM with text, "Real-world insights from AADOM authors"

What is integrity? Do you possess it?

What difference would it make in your practice if you did? What are some ways in which integrity defines us?

Integrity doesn’t just define who you are but what you do.

Integrity makes a difference in us and our work, affecting the environment where we spend most of our time.

We know people who have integrity and those who do not. Although it seems that integrity is in short supply these days, it is a character trait that is highly valued, especially in business.

In the dictionary, integrity is defined as someone who adheres to moral and ethical principles.

In our practices, someone with integrity is the kind of person we want to work for and with.

Are you that kind of employee or manager? What traits do you regularly exhibit that team members, patients, or your employer expect because they know that you have integrity?

Seeing is believing

If you have integrity in your work, there are some qualities that others will consistently see. They will see that you are:

  • Honest
  • Sincere
  • Principled
  • Truthful
  • Trustworthy

Why do these traits matter in our work?

Primarily because they define us and what the dentist, our team members, and our patients can expect of us in any given situation.

In dentistry, we’re not only dealing with patients’ health and finances; we’re also dealing with their health information and assisting them in making good treatment-related decisions. If we do not possess integrity in handling these areas for our patients, you, the doctor, and the practice will lose the confidence of the patient.

As for our teams, modeling integrity for those we manage is just part of our responsibility as good managers.

The way we do our jobs

Integrity also defines how we perform our work duties.

If we’re asked to complete a project, manage an employee, or deal with an unhappy patient, integrity will dictate how we handle each situation.

  • We’ll complete the project in the time allotted because we agreed that we would finish it on time.
  • We’ll manage the employee with honesty and sincerity, looking for every opportunity to teach them and lead them to perform with excellence.
  • We’ll be truthful with the patient who is unhappy, listening to their complaint, and responding with honesty and compassion.

All while working to find a solution that protects the practice and assures the patient that they have been heard.

Patients will appreciate our honesty, team members will feel safe in approaching us with questions or concerns, and our employers will trust us with providing leadership to the team while keeping confidences when necessary.

Setting expectations

Integrity defines what others can expect of you.

When you have integrity, there will naturally be an expectation from others of what they anticipate when they ask you to perform a task.

This does not mean that you’ll never make a mistake or that you won’t disappoint them occasionally. When disappointments come, a person with integrity will own up to their mistakes and make every effort to correct the situation rather than making excuses or blaming someone else.

Managers with integrity are worth their weight in gold, particularly in today’s environment where lack of integrity is the norm.

A manager who’ll deal honestly with practice finances, work with team members to help them grow, and work alongside the dentist to help the practice succeed in its goals is the kind of manager we all should strive to be.

Making vision a reality

How can we become a manager with integrity?

First, we need to possess the desire.

Secondly, we need to be willing to choose the path that leads to moral and ethical decision-making even when it is unpopular.

Thirdly, we need to assess ourselves to determine if we need to make some changes honestly. That means leaving behind dishonesty, insincerity, gossip, and lack of desire to change if it’s required.

Once we do, we make the kind of difference in our practices that changes our work environment for everyone!

Meet the Author

Karol Peters in blue top and glasses outsiteKarol Peters, RDH, MAADOM graduated from Lamar University in 1978. She began working for Dr. M. H. Peters Jr… This text opens a new tab to the practice’s website… as his first hygienist. Today, the two of them have been happily married for over 42 years.

Karol has worked in all aspects of private practice and is currently the managing director.

Her experience with management software training has allowed her to work in areas such as conducting fraud exams in dental practices.

In 2021, Karol was inducted as an AADOM Master.

She and her husband live in the NASA area of the Texas Gulf Coast with their two Maltese, Lola and Dixie. She enjoys her involvement in church activities, mission trips, and traveling.

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