Buffett narrowed it down to three, but one is purely non-negotiable if you want to achieve success through your workforce. Buffet said:
You're looking for three things, generally, in a person: intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don't have the last one, don't even bother with the first two.
Here's why integrity is so important in the people you hire, especially your future leaders.
1. They won't flat out lie.
In one recent survey conducted by Checkster, 78 percent of job candidates admitted they had lied or would lie about their credentials and capabilities in an interview.
With nearly 8 out of 10 people lying in interviews, the odds of your workforce being comprised entirely of people with energy, initiative, and integrity are not great.
That's probably why Warren Buffett always placed such a premium on integrity. It may take longer to hire the right person with this mindset, but chances are, in the end, the added time will prove to be an investment that may save your butt.
2. They won't steal from the company
So why does integrity reign supreme in Buffett's list of qualifications? It's simple. The intelligent and driven people who lack integrity are the ones who will embezzle money from your company, sell proprietary information to a competitor, or leave and take your entire roster of clients with them. Hiring for integrity isn't easy, but it's worth the effort.
3. They follow through on their word
Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue, author of the book The 10 Laws of Trust, and a previous guest on my podcast said this about working with people that exhibit integrity in team settings: "You'll find things go more rapidly, you innovate more, people are more flexible and innovative, and they just have more fun.
Peterson added, "Having integrity means, among other things, that the gap between what you say you're going to do, and what you actually do, is small."
Plain and simple, people with integrity practice what they preach and deliver on their promises or commitments. Of course, they allow room for mistakes and failure (they're human, after all), but they hold themselves accountable to a high standard absent of outside influences.
4. They are assertive
Let's accept the fact that conflict is unavoidable when human beings are involved. Rather than being passive-aggressive and conflict-avoidant, leaders with integrity courageously run toward the eye of the storm.
They are keenly aware that cutting through conflict with active listening skills to understand the other person is a much faster solution to resolving an issue than the negative consequences of running away from conflict. This is the person that you should be after.