In the modern workplace, where competition is fierce and the demand for high-quality performance is relentless, certain character traits stand out as essential for finding and nurturing employees who will contribute meaningfully. Among these traits, integrity, intensity, and intentionality emerge as three of the pivotal characteristics for the makeup of a good employee. Understanding and prioritizing these three traits can significantly enhance an organization’s ability to attract, develop, and retain top talent. Drawing on the insights of renowned authors like Steven Covey, Patrick Lencioni, and Gino Wickman, let’s dive into the definitions of these traits and explore their critical importance in the workplace.

Defining Integrity, Intensity, and Intentionality

**Integrity** is often considered the bedrock of personal and professional ethics. It refers to the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. In his seminal work, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Steven Covey emphasizes integrity as a fundamental principle that underpins trustworthiness and reliability. Covey asserts that integrity involves aligning our actions with our values and being truthful in all our dealings.

**Intensity** pertains to the level of passion, energy, and commitment an individual brings to their work. It is characterized by a focused and vigorous approach to tasks and responsibilities. Patrick Lencioni, in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” underscores the importance of intensity by highlighting how it drives team members to push beyond their comfort zones, fostering a culture of excellence and high performance.

**Intentionality** involves being deliberate and purposeful in one’s actions. It is about having a clear sense of direction and making decisions that align with long-term goals. Gino Wickman, in “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business,” discusses intentionality as a critical component of successful leadership and management. Wickman posits that intentional actions are essential for maintaining focus and achieving strategic objectives.

The Role of Integrity in the Workplace

Integrity in the workplace is indispensable for building a culture of trust and accountability. Employees who demonstrate integrity are reliable, honest, and ethical. They adhere to company policies, respect their colleagues, and consistently deliver on their promises. This fosters an environment where trust flourishes, which is crucial for effective teamwork and collaboration.

Steven Covey’s perspective on integrity highlights its impact on trust. He argues that trust is the glue of life and the foundational principle that holds all relationships. In a professional context, trust enhances communication, reduces conflict, and increases productivity. When employees trust each other and their leaders, they are more likely to collaborate effectively and share ideas openly, leading to innovation and improved problem-solving.

Moreover, integrity is vital for maintaining a company’s reputation. An organization known for its ethical standards attracts top talent and retains customers. Employees with integrity act as ambassadors of the company’s values, contributing to a positive public image and fostering customer loyalty. Conversely, a lack of integrity can lead to scandals, legal issues, and a damaged reputation, which can have long-term detrimental effects.

The Importance of Intensity in Achieving Excellence

Intensity is a critical trait for employees who aim to excel in their roles. It encompasses passion, energy, and a strong commitment to achieving high standards. Intense employees are not satisfied with mediocrity; they strive for excellence and inspire others to do the same.

Patrick Lencioni emphasizes the role of intensity in team dynamics. In “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” he explains that teams need members who are willing to engage passionately and challenge each other. Intensity drives individuals to take ownership of their tasks, pursue continuous improvement, and hold themselves and their peers accountable. This creates a high-performance culture where excellence is the norm rather than the exception.

Furthermore, intense employees are often more resilient and adaptable. Their commitment to their work helps them navigate challenges and setbacks with determination. They are willing to put in the extra effort required to overcome obstacles, learn from failures, and persevere until they achieve their goals. This resilience is particularly valuable in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment.

The Power of Intentionality in Strategic Success

Intentionality is the practice of being purposeful and deliberate in one’s actions. It involves setting clear goals, making informed decisions, and aligning actions with long-term objectives. Intentional employees are proactive rather than reactive, and they consistently work towards achieving strategic outcomes.

Gino Wickman’s concept of intentionality, as outlined in “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business,” emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision and a systematic approach to achieving it. Intentionality helps employees stay focused on their priorities and avoid distractions that can derail progress. It ensures that every action taken is aligned with the organization’s mission and values.

Intentional employees also contribute to better decision-making processes. By being deliberate and thoughtful, they are able to analyze situations thoroughly, consider various perspectives, and make choices that are in the best interest of the organization. This leads to more effective problem-solving and strategic planning.

Integrating Integrity, Intensity, and Intentionality in Hiring

When it comes to hiring, assessing candidates for integrity, intensity, and intentionality can significantly enhance the quality of new hires. These traits can be evaluated through various methods, including behavioral interviews, reference checks, and situational judgment tests.

Behavioral Interviews: Asking candidates to provide examples of past experiences where they demonstrated integrity, intensity, and intentionality can offer valuable insights. For instance, questions about how they handled ethical dilemmas, pursued challenging goals, or aligned their actions with long-term objectives can reveal their underlying character traits.

Reference Checks: Speaking with previous employers and colleagues can help verify a candidate’s integrity, work ethic, and intentionality. References can provide firsthand accounts of the candidate’s behavior, reliability, and ability to stay focused on goals.

Situational Judgment Tests: These assessments present candidates with hypothetical scenarios and ask them to choose the best course of action. The responses can indicate how candidates prioritize integrity, manage intense situations, and approach decision-making with intentionality.

Cultivating Integrity, Intensity, and Intentionality in the Workplace

Beyond hiring, it is crucial for organizations to cultivate these traits within their existing workforce. This can be achieved through various strategies, including leadership development, performance management, and organizational culture initiatives.

Leadership Development: Training programs that focus on ethical decision-making, goal-setting, and resilience can help leaders model integrity, intensity, and intentionality. Leaders who embody these traits can inspire and mentor their teams to do the same.

Performance Management: Establishing clear performance expectations and providing regular feedback can reinforce the importance of these traits. Recognizing and rewarding employees who demonstrate integrity, intensity, and intentionality can further motivate others to adopt these behaviors.

Organizational Culture: Creating a culture that values and promotes integrity, intensity, and intentionality is essential. This can be achieved by articulating and reinforcing core values, fostering open communication, and encouraging collaboration and accountability.


Integrity, intensity, and intentionality are critical traits that define exceptional employees and contribute significantly to organizational success. By prioritizing these traits in hiring, cultivating them within the workforce, and integrating them into the organizational culture, companies can build a high-performance environment that drives excellence, innovation, and sustained success.

Drawing on the insights of thought leaders like Steven Covey, Patrick Lencioni, and Gino Wickman, this article has highlighted the importance of these traits and provided practical strategies for fostering them in the workplace. Ultimately, organizations that value and reinforce Integrity Intensity and Intentionality in their workforce will build businesses that are sustainable consistently outperform the competition.