Integrity. We all have heard the word and try to apply it to ourselves. Do we really understand what integrity is? But do we really have integrity? In my leadership coaching, integrity is one of the areas in the leadership wheel. However, integrity is important to us whether we are leaders or not.
So, what is integrity? Dictionary.com defines integrity as:
- adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
- the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
- a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.
A synonym for integrity is honor. The antonym they list for integrity is dishonesty. So, now we know the definition of integrity.
The first definition is the definition I will use for the remainder of this post. “Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” According to this definition, integrity is something that is built on every day. We can’t choose to have integrity on one issue and not on another issue. We have to adhere to moral principles. Integrity is truly all or nothing proposition. While this sounds preachy, it is true.
If we lose our integrity, we have to work even harder to gain it back. Rebuilding the trust of others when we have lost our integrity is extremely hard to do. As a leader, if you don’t have integrity, you lose capital with your followers. They don’t know if they can trust you; if you are being honest with them. People have a hard time responding positively to leaders that don’t have integrity. Why follow someone that you can’t trust? They may do their job, but they won’t be fully invested in you or your business.
What Can I do in My Life to Maintain Integrity?
- Verify that you consistently adhere to your moral principles. Are there areas you could work on? Are you true to core beliefs?
- Ensure that your communication is honest. Be honest to yourself and others. The more you do this the easier it becomes.
- To me, I listen to my gut when issues arise about my integrity. When I am doing something that is not in my moral value system, I get this feeling. If I don’t listen to it, I regret it later. So, listen to gut, your feelings. If you feel that something is pushing your integrity, investigate why. Normally, it is your way of saying whoa this is wrong.
Please let me know what you think.
I am trying something new with this post. Below is an audio podcast of this post. Let me know if you like this.