Our working definition of the Value of integrity is:
Integrity is a dedicated adherence to a code of moral and ethical values that serve as guiding principles for our decisions and actions. To act with integrity is to remain steadfastly committed to behaving with a strict adherence to those values implicit in a moral or ethical code of conduct.
The synonyms for the Value of integrity are:
Principled, Character, Candor, Moral Fiber, Honesty, Decency, Forthrightness, Uprightness, Correctness, Goodness, Honorableness, Incorruptibility, Sincerity.
Integrity is the dominant Leadership Value in Leadership Development Quadrant 1 (LDQ1), and therefore is singled out in this quadrant for special emphasis. In doing so it is important to understand that the Value of integrity, along with the strong supportive role of the associated values of achievement, responsibility, and Courage all interact to become "the tracks to run on" for the developing Personality Characteristic of a +Moral/Ethical Life's View.
Leaders who model the value of integrity:
- Have Achieved the status of role models whose words and actions are worthy examples to follow
- Are open and above board, consistently and transparently displaying personal values which provide a window through which others can view their true motives and intentions
- Treat others fairly, and with dignity and respect
- Are truthful, trustworthy, and through their honesty have earned the confidence and respect of others
- Gather & weigh the facts; are always open to give balanced consideration to divergent points of view
- Build harmony, consensus, and esprit de corps
- Demonstrate they have the Courage to act on their own convictions for the greater good of all
- Have the integrity to admit when they are wrong and then do what it takes to make things right
- Are driven not by their ego, but rather by their commitment to do what is right, fair, and just
- Have the credibility to make us more self-aware of our responsibility by guiding us toward ethical decisions and appropriate actions
- Lead by example - they are admired only in part by what they say, but in total by what they do
- Are excellent communicators but better listeners, seeking first to understand, and only then to be understood
In the values development process, those who would lead who have not mastered the essence of most of these 12 critical integrity leadership attributes may at times lose their way or choose the easy way out and act in just the opposite manner - a learning experience. They may give in to not standing up for those values and beliefs that are for the "greater good" of all would be followers. People of integrity quickly learn not to shirk this responsibility, and they learn and grow to be willing to be held accountable for their words and deeds, and for the ultimate results of their leadership.
Consider the words attributed to Heraclitus, Greek Poet and Philosopher circa 535 - 475 BC.
"The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the full light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny ... it is the light that guides your way." Wikiquote (2/3/07)
Hold this thought because it is a timeless truth, and let's fast forward to well over 20 centuries later, and reflect on Oliver Wendell Holmes words:
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
Integrity is your light that shines from within for all to see.