The definition of Integrity can be as simple or as complicated as you may want to make it. Most dictionaries define integrity as:
1. "the quality of being honest and having strong principles".
2. "steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code".
However, I prefer simple definitions, mostly because they are easier to relate to and remember. Simple definitions usually make more sense to me, and in the long term, they are more useful.
as you say you are going to do,
when you said you were going to do it,
and as you said that you would do it".
You are probably thinking to yourself, "this is a very simple definition of integrity," and I agree with you. (Please note that "to do" requires and involves action!)
However, what becomes "Complicated" is the possible choice to be made given a certain situation, where you have variable outcomes of different degrees and effects.
Anyone can makes things "Complicated." But, "Simplicity" is difficult work!
The situation ought not dictate your decision; instead it ought to be your moral code and ethics that drive your decision.
Unless someone is holding a gun to your head and counting, expediency or the pressure of having to make a quick decision ought not be the determining factor in your decision. This is known as Non-Situational Integrity. The best definition and description that I have read about Non-Situational Integrity is by Denis Waitley.
If the outcome of your possible decision is passive, simple and does not harm and or hurt anything or anyone, then it does not matter.
But if the choice you are about to make, can have significant and long lasting effects on our humanity, then the possible decision you are about to make requires the most careful analysis and consideration.
There is a spectrum between little or no consequences to extreme and perennial consequences.
It is simple. Little or no consequences, "No big deal." Grave and everlasting consequences, "Very Big Deal."
"Because people may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do. Because actions speak louder than words."
Integrity identifies who we are based on the actions that we take, given certain situations and or circumstances. Integrity in a way, makes us predictable. We become known for our Integrity, Lack of Integrity and or Absence of Integrity.
Here is the acid test regarding Integrity.
Would you follow a Leader that you don't Trust?
The reason that most people do not follow a Leader that they do not trust, is because, that Leader has breached and or violated the sacred values of Integrity.
Usually once the Integrity is breached, the Trust is gone. And when the Trust is gone, it is usually gone forever. You can forgive, if you know how to forgive. The question is, do you forget?
It usually depends on the amount of pain, the size and type of the breach, the amount of people hurt, was it serious and or what were the final consequences.
The bottom line about Integrity
If you don't do as you say you will do, it is only a matter of time before people realize that you cannot be Trusted.
The moment people stop trusting you as a leader, that moment marks the beginning of the end of your leadership. Fewer and fewer people will be willing to follow you, and do as you request, because they will have lost respect in your leadership and integrity.
You can only be a "Leader" if people are willing to follow you freely. If you force people to do as you want or say, then you would be a "Tyrant", and not a leader.
All historical tyrannies have ended in their own destruction. It has only been a matter of time before they perished. Humanity was designed to function as free individual and independent collectives (family systems) in order to survive through the ages. There have been many different styles and types of collectives (family systems), and one main element of all collective systems, has been that they have all had the element of integrity.
"Our universe is a universe of balance. Integrity is the fulcrum of our universal balance."
by Jerry Fernandez
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