Thoughts on Leadership is the brain child of Paul Bridle. This is the place that Paul shares his monthly thoughts.

Integrity and Honesty

Posted: June 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Recently, I got asked the question what is the difference between honesty and integrity?  And I thought it was an interesting question so I am going to make it the thoughts for leadership this month.


You see, honesty, I look that up in the dictionary and honesty used the words here: “The quality of being honest, upright, fair, truthful, sincere, and frank.”  I think the operative word there is about “being”.  In other words, it’s about the way you behave, it’s about who you are as evidence by the way you behave.  Either you are somebody who is honest or you’re somebody who isn’t always honest and so, as such as “being” there becomes the operative word.


So what is integrity?  Well, integrity is really – it comes from the Latin word, and it’s about “soundness” – it describes it as “soundness”, I have character and so forth.  But what’s really interesting is how the word integrity has developed.  You see, we would’ve talked years ago about the integrity of the empire or we would’ve talked about the integrity of the ship’s hull or whatever it was.  In other words, we are talking about its “wholeness”, about its “soundness”, about how it keeps itself together regardless of what’s being thrown at it.  So trying to preserve the integrity of the empire, would’ve been about trying to keep the empire together.  Talking about the integrity of this ship’s hull – it was about how it keeps it together.


It’s evolved in its usage and we use it in terms of human beings.  And it’s about – integrity’s about as an individual and about how we hold ourselves together against all the adversities being thrown at us.  Which is interesting because it means the recognition of integrity actually comes from other people.   In other words, we can think we have integrity, but the test of it is how other people view us.  Do other people see us as having integrity?  Because if you are like, that’s the real stamp of approval, that’s the sign of who you are is what other people say about you.  So, do we keep ourselves together?  Are we consistent, in other words, in the way that we behave and in the way that we deal with things?  Because that consistency builds the integrity with other people.


And that’s what one of the key aspects of leadership is, is that ability to consistently behave in a manner with people and consistently build and develop that integrity.  So let’s go back to that ship.  Keeping the ship’s hull in integrity will be about constantly looking after it.  It will have to be cared for.  It can’t just be allowed to be battered and worn away, it needed to be cared for, painted, restored, and constantly monitored.  And so are leaders.  It’s about a constant process of ensuring that we are keeping it together, ensuring that other people see us as keeping it together and being able to, no matter what the adversity coming at us is, that we are managing to hold the whole process together.


So, this month the question I want to ask you is, what about your integrity?  What are you doing in terms of feeding that integrity?  What are you doing in terms on ensuring that you are keeping it together, that you are holding it together?  Is that closeness about you which allow you to have integrity in other peoples’ eyes?  Integrity is something that you constantly working at, the way you deal with others, the way that you respond to others, the way they see.  So it is about behaviour, yes, honesty is an element of it.  But honesty is about you in one particular area.  Integrity is about your whole interaction with the individual and it’s a constant process with a leader’s case, of building that integrity — very quickly lost but very on going process of keeping it together.


So, I hope those questions are useful to you this month and I hope it gives you really something to think about.  Have a great month and I look forward to see you next month! Bye for now!


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