Lesson 1: Topic 5 of 19
Why do we call this a “practical” course on integrity? Let’s start with the word itself. “Integrity” comes from the same root word as “integer.” Remember from elementary school math class that an integer is a whole number, as opposed to a fraction. Thus a person of integrity is a whole person, one who is not fractured by inconsistent beliefs and behaviors; all of his or her life flows from a set of strongly held core values.
Integrity, however, is a virtue only in the (usually implied) assumption that those core values are good and true. But what if they are not? Soviet strongman Vladmir Lenin, American serial killer Ted Bundy, and fictional Marvel Comics supervillain Thanos all believed themselves to be men of integrity because the choices they made were completely in keeping with their core values … it’s just that those values were evil, so their choices were evil, too.
You may never have met an overtly evil boss, but there definitely are plenty of bad ones: ones who treat employees as their underlings, who excessively micromanage, who bully, belittle, harass, and exploit others. Some of those bosses are clueless, never understanding why the staff turnover is so high and why they don’t get recognition or appreciation at work. Others are well aware that they are justifiably hated by staff, and don’t care. But we should care. And for the remainder of our time together, when referring to a “person of integrity” the phrase will be used as it is commonly understood: an ethical, virtuous and well-intentioned person. And since good ethics are the foundation of personal integrity, the terms “ethics” and “integrity” will be used somewhat interchangeably. Because this is “practical integrity,” you will see throughout this course a balance between theory and implementation, both scientific research and tips drawn from our own and others’ experiences.
Integrity involves a careful balance between respect and responsibility, according to the Turknett Leadership Group. The Turknetts note that individuals of integrity reliably possess four qualities: