Is integrity becoming a thing of the past?

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Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to uphold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards. Source: Wikipedia

Integrity to me is doing the right thing whether anyone is watching or not. It is not waivering in your morals and values even if doing so would put you at an advantage. It is seeing through your commitments regardless of how tired, bored, busy you are.

In today’s society where most are fighting to make it to the top, whatever it takes, integrity can become lost along the way. Some may be willing to compromise in order to move further ahead in their careers and studies. Others may be “economical with the truth”.

Recently, I watched a UK programme, The Apprentice with entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar. For those not in the UK, there are a group of candidates who compete against one another for a one year contract to work with Sir Alan Sugar. Each week they participate in challenging tasks to test their business knowledge, tenacity, judgement and team working skills. Each week one person is eliminated.  At least five candidates lacked complete integrity, they took no ownership for their behaviour and mistakes. They spoke badly of one another to one another. They lied when questioned about their actions. They were willing to do and say anything to be kept in the competition.

I find it rather concerning that some are willing to live with little or no integrity. I wonder if they had integrity to start with or perhaps they do not see the true value in being a person of their word. It does not go unnoticed; whether you are an employee, a business owner, a student – you (and me) are being constantly observed by others.

What does integrity mean to you?

When was the last time your integrity was challenged? What did you do?

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25 thoughts on “Is integrity becoming a thing of the past?”

  1. Phoenicia, you typically end your posts with a couple of questions. I have a couple of questions for you this week.

    (1) If someone holds that might makes right and is honest about that, does that person really have “integrity”?

    (2) If a nation’s leader holds in good faith that it is “moral” and “right” to go to war over the objections of the nation’s people, does that really qualify as “moral uprightness”?

    I would argue that these terms are more slippery than you make them out to be.

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    1. Hi Andy,

      Yes, I do ask questions at the end of my posts, primarily to encourage conversation. The purpose of my blog is to engage with others.

      I do not understand your first question – I believe a few key words are missing.

      No it does not. A leader decides to go to war as it is “right” in his eyes. Leaders are called to make decisions based on what is best for the majority. They plan for the long term rather than just the here and now. Do they always get it right? Of course not.

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      1. Let me reword my first question.
        (1) If someone
        (a) holds that might makes right,
        (b) honestly admits “I’m a ‘might makes right’ sort of person,” and
        (c) acts accordingly,
        does that person have “integrity”? What would you say?

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  2. Hi Phoenicia. As usually your posts always open up great questions for discussion! I’ve viewed integrity as having a genuine appreciation for the truth, so naturally I’ve seen instances where that hasn’t been present in friendships and work settings. It seems like people don’t see the point because it holds them back for short term goals, but I’d rather make strides both personally and professionally with my character in tact.

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  3. This is such a great topic. My therapist pointed out to me that what I value most in relationships is integrity. Yet, too many people are lacking in that area. The one thing my ex pointed out me to me is that I always make the right choices. I’ve just always had a strong moral compass. It’s hard to say what factors all tie in.

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  4. This is a big topic, Phoenicia, and highly important. You also nailed why I can’t tolerate reality TV. I’ve never understood the allure of Survivor because all they do is lie and plot against each other. The commercials for it cause me to hurt.
    So, full disclosure, I told a whopping lie to my Dad when I was old enough to know better–let’s say eight. He flat out knew I was lying and kept working the conversation around until I finally admitted it. What a great lesson!
    I try very hard to be honest at all times–I want to look in the mirror and see a face I can rely on.

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    1. I find it painful to watch people discredit one another – does not show food character at all.

      Good on your dad for teaching you a lesson.

      I like your take on wanting to like the person standing before you in the mirror.

      Great hairstyle by the way!

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  5. I’m familiar with the show since you referenced we have the American version of the Apprentice thanks to Mr. Trump, and he’s the poster boy for questionable integrity. While I’m not a fan of reality shows, I do think that one thing to consider is that their very nature is to push participants to be outrageous, which is the reason most people tune in.

    The truth is we each have an opportunity to exercise our integrity every day.Even something as simple is letting a cashier know she’s given you too much change counts. Great topic Phoenicia, thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. I should have known you would have your own version of the show!

      Yes, our integrity is put to the test daily. The ongoing battle of doing the right thing when it is easier to do the wrong thing.

      You are welcome.

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  6. Love your definition of integrity Phoenicia and it makes perfect sense. Your description of The Apprentice with Sir Alan Sugar sounds exactly how the USA The Apprentice works with Donald Trump. I wonder if they have some kind of agreement between them about sharing that idea?

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  7. I hope integrity is not a thing of the past. What was alarming to me about your example of the TV show is not just that the contestants showed a lack of integrity but the fact that they were perfectly willing to display that lack of integrity to the world on the telly.

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  8. People who act without integrity may prosper for short periods, but those who have true integrity gain respect and loyalty in the long run. I think I agree with Lenie about whether it is disappearing or not. I too know a lot of people with integrity.

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  9. Great post, Phoenicia, I too feel integrity is important in my life. I build my relationship with my clients on trust. If there wasn’t any integrity in my service, I wouldn’t have anyone trusting me. I feel that trust and integrity go hand in hand. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. To me integrity is fundamental. Unfortunately you have an abundance of people that lack that quality. But that’s been the case throughout history. Ambitious, ruthless people are not interested in integrity. Money and power is what they give priority.

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  11. Hi Phoenicia. Great post. Integrity is essential to my behaviour, and I expect it from my family, friends, and colleagues as well. That means acting in honesty and with kindness.

    By the way, I wanted to pin your image, but I could not get the Pinterest function to kick in. You may want to check if it’s functioning properly.

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  12. Phoenicia, I like your statement “Integrity to me is doing the right thing whether anyone is watching or not.” That’s the way it should be – something that fully belongs to you, not something you put on for others. As to whether integrity is disappearing – I think it’s a little bit like the news – the focus is on the bad that is happening and seldom on the good. I know many more people with integrity than not so I think it’s the same thing – it exists, only its non-existence is highlighted.

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    1. Thanks Lenie. We have to keep ourselves accountable at all times. We all receive countless opportunities to cut corners and do what we feel like doing as oppose to what we should be doing.

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  13. A lack of integrity doesn’t help anyone and a business only exists to meet the needs of those it serves. If people don’t have integrity and they run a business, they not only betray themselves but also those they serve. Lack of integrity may go unnoticed for a while, but eventually it reveals itself through the actions of those who lack it and then there are consequences. I’m not sure whether there is less integrity in today’s world or whether it seems that way because we are aware of the actions of so many more people than ever before possible.

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