Warren Buffett once said ‘Pick out associates whose behaviour is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.’

Warren Buffett was quoted, “…somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy.

And if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it's true. If you hire somebody without integrity, you really want them to be dumb and lazy”.

When you hire someone with integrity, it's the central pillar that holds all three together or the structure collapses.

From as early as I can remember, my folks kept hammering into me that I must have integrity. And later in life, my business mentors gave me similar guidance.

Modern management guru Zig Ziglar asserted that “…honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur”.

So, being upright seems to be a non-negotiable requirement in the pursuit of any lasting success.

Integrity is what makes it hard to question your decisions. I know that when I deal with someone who possesses unwavering integrity, I can look at their decisions and be satisfied that they would have used good judgment.

Many of our workplaces have become fairly tight and collaborative spaces, so when you hire someone with integrity, they are often quickly seen as being dependable and accountable for their actions. This is the surest way to developing team trust.

Hiring people with integrity also addresses leadership gaps.

If a person has integrity, they command respect and become an influencer. People around them will inadvertently look to them as a role model.

This is the quality that organisations desire in their leaders. It is increasingly evident that these are the types of people that get promoted to management roles.

Let’s take the wise counsel of Warren Buffet; why is a person with integrity, intelligence, and energy a great hire?

In his column in CBS Money Watch, author Tom Searcy has explained it really well. He says:

• When you hire someone with high energy, high intelligence, but low integrity, you'll get a smart, fast-moving thief.

• When you hire someone with high intelligence, high integrity, but low energy, you'll get a shopkeeper, not an engine of growth.

• When you hire someone with high energy, high integrity, but low intelligence, you'll get a strong functionary, but not a great problem solver or visionary.

Now look at yourself. Where do you stand?

The best way to question your own intelligence is to ask yourself if you are a problem-solver. I have worked with people in my team who will offer me standard platitudes when dealing with a problem.

“Boss, the client said this cannot be done…” or “…I have asked around, and it’s the weekend, so our problem cannot be solved.”

But then, I get someone else from my office on the same problem, and within a few hours, they find an ingenious way of solving our issue.

Intelligence, for the most part, is never valued unless there is a practical application for the cleverness you claim to have. If you’re not a problem-solver, there’s no evidence for that intelligence, so to speak.

Next is energy. The best way to question your own energy levels is to figure out if you have focused drive, and commitment to completion.

At work, you will constantly have to deal with things that are unexpected, surprising, or disruptive. Each time you hit this wall, it is your internal energy that will keep you on course to plough through.

If you have a tendency to give up, or walkaway, then you have no energy. Mental energy is what drives people forward. It is this energy that helps you surmount seemingly impossible obstacles; nothing else.

Finally, how do you know if you have integrity?

Be truthful and ask yourself these 15 questions.

1. Did you "neglect to tell the truth" at any time today?

2. Did you say “Yes” when you really should have said “No”?

3. Did you promise to do or commit to something, and then didn't deliver?

4. Did you mislead someone by agreeing to do something in less time than is realistic?

5. Did you consider the impact of your behaviour on other people before you acted?

6. Were you understanding, rather than judgmental, with a colleague?

7. Were you too critical, impatient, impulsive or rigid in any of your interactions?

8. Were you controlling, and not open to different ways of doing the same thing?

9. After listening to others' input, did you willingly share responsibility, co-operate, or delegate?

10. Did you consider the equitable, ethical, and moral implications of your choices?

11. How would you rate your self-control today?

12. Did you resist a temptation to do something unethical, or to act improperly?

13. How strong is your sense of duty as revealed in your behaviour today?

14. Did you do the "right thing" despite the fear of negative consequences?

15. Did you "break the rules" today? What was the situation, and what did you do ?

Your answers will show if your choices demonstrate integrity.

Do you have integrity, intelligence and energy, all rolled into one?

Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”