I am a passionate educator. I am passionate about my work and, though example, seek to have others share this passion, and in doing inspire in them the joy of learning and living.
Integrity is a vital element of my persona. Being a person of integrity, I have an unqualified commitment to moral principles. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy says “to have integrity is to have unconditional and steady commitment to moral values and obligations”. Integrity is itself a value but is the value which in a sense binds all other values and helps you to be consistent with them. It is the building block of character. The word ‘integrity’ emanates from the Latin adjective “integer” which means whole, complete. Hence integrity is the inner sense of wholeness, an observance of a particular code of behaviour.
So to be a person of integrity requires honesty – being honest with yourself and so with others, keeping your word; requires trust – trusting yourself and so trusting others, being trusted and being able to trust others; loyalty – loyal to yourself and so loyal to others and for others, and consistent. Integrity is something which is developed and established over time. It can be learned.
I believe in people and am willing to see good in all, to include all and to be tolerant of personal weaknesses– recognising that talent is a trait to be nurtured, and that behaviour and potential are two different things. I believe that trust and trustworthiness are central to successful human interaction and that to be whole is to belong. In terms of the wellbeing of staff, leadership, therefore, through integrity, is integral to my approach and interactions.
Brian Tracy the Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, who specializes in the training and development of individuals (and organisations) (see http://www.sia-hq.com/articles/Becoming-a-Person-of-Integrity April 30 2010) maintains that the visible appearance of someone who has high integrity is high quality work. He maintains that a person of integrity does or strives for excellence in work at all times. Therefore by practicing integrity in your work (starting a little earlier, working a little larder, staying a little later, concentrating on every little detail) your integrity is apparent to those around you and even rubs off on some of them.
And while on the topic of work, from time to time in my various roles I have either lead or been a member of interview panels for new employees. One of my favourite questions when interviewing is to ask the candidate to name one person living or dead he/she most admires, and why? Essentially what I am looking for is what character traits does this person value the most, and hence give me an insight into the values that person holds dearest.
And so what are the qualities found in a person of integrity? The following posts, one in 2008 and again in a different blog in 2010, reproduce the substance of an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer by Anthony B Robinson – the 10 top marks of a person with integrity.
10 Qualities You’ll Find in a Person of Integrity
(Reprinted with permission—article in Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 28, 2008.)
What are the marks of a person who possesses integrity? Here’s my Top 10:
1. What you see is what you get. Outer and inner are connected, parts of one whole.
2. A person who has basic integrity honours commitments and keeps promises. If they say they will be there, they are. If they promise to do something, they do it.
3. A person with integrity is truthful. You can trust what they tell you.
4. Consistency. Someone who has integrity isn’t your new best friend one week and then next week doesn’t seem to know you.
5. Integrity doesn’t mean that a person never makes mistakes. But a person with integrity accepts responsibility for his or her own mistakes or failures and does what’s in his or her power to put things right.
6. Related to No. 5, people with integrity are slow to blame others for their problems or frustrations. They aren’t whiners.
7. People of integrity care about the work, the mission, or the product and about a job well done, and not just about what they personally will get out of it in terms of money, recognition or advancement.
8. While receptive to learning and change, people of integrity are sceptical of simple answers to complex problems, and not inclined toward fads or buzzwords.
9. A person of integrity minds his or her own business. I don’t mean isolation, I mean paying attention to your own responsibilities and work rather than freely inserting yourself into the responsibilities of another.
10. People with integrity know that they aren’t perfect and that sometimes in this life it’s not possible to avoid disappointing or hurting others. Because of this they are able to forgive and they can recognize their own need for forgiveness.