The word integrity shows up on the value lists of most individuals and organizations. But that is where things stop. The problem with this is that integrity is relative unless measured and framed with a positive ethos. Otherwise, it can be a big negative.
You would be hard-pressed to argue that Hitler didn’t exhibit great integrity in thought, word, and deed. His integrity was framed with negative ego and ethnocentricity. The horrific result was xenophobia, deep suspicion, war, and ethnic cleansing. Integrity framed with positive honor will build trust and loyalty and lead to good results. Knowing the difference between honor and dishonor is foundational to this value.
And just how does one determine what is just and honorable? Aligning thoughts, words, and deeds in a truthful and honorable manner takes serious work. What is right and wrong, honorable or dishonorable can be discerned through a committed search for truth about human nature.
Recall President Clinton – a smart, pleasant, and effective politician. Yet, he wouldn’t make the honorable decision to avoid extra-marital affairs even though he knew what the consequences could be. He displayed a lack of honorable integrity by breaching the trust of his office and then lying about it.
Gaping character defects such as this indicate that authentic leadership is absent (IMHO). Though one may aspire to, and even attain, great power positions in life, authentic leadership is beyond one’s grasp without the virtue of honorable integrity.
One of our SEALFIT students did an about-face 10 feet before the turnaround point on a timed run. He thought he was alone and that nobody would see him. But there were two souls watching that night. To find out what happened, read the next installment of this blog, where I will tell the rest of the story.
Hooyah, Coach Divine
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