Integrity: Doing what's right
March 19, 2013
By Sandy Gibson
Integrity is the principle foundation upon which our ethical and moral compass is built. One of the mainstays of integrity is "doing what is right, both legally and morally." These ethical principles are our inner compasses that guide us to do the right thing even when we're being pressured to do otherwise. It requires us to do the right thing at all times, regardless of the situation or the consequences.
"Even if an organization is led by egomaniacs drunk with power who are unaware of their destructive practices, those who have integrity will be the ones who steadily guide it from the bottom up, allowing it to quietly weather the storm through trying times," said Destin Sandlin, flight test engineer for the Missile Flight Test Division at Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Ala. "These bottom-up leaders will no doubt experience pain in doing so, but by being true to what they know is right, they will be a lighthouse of truth in a sea of the misguided."
Integrity starts with a deliberate intent to continuously strive to be a better person while remaining consistent and true to one's beliefs. The Army characterizes this as adhering to moral principles. But it's not always easy, especially when doing so is not the most popular thing to do.
"Integrity is doing what is right, all the time, within the bounds of your personal beliefs and without compromising common laws," said Capt. Ryan Stidum, joint test element officer at the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command Joint Test Element. "Integrity is having the courage to stand up to someone or a situation that you know is wrong."
According to the Army, "integrity requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you." Honesty and trustworthiness are central to integrity. It requires being honest with yourself as well as to others.
"Integrity is the most sacred of all things in your relationships with others throughout your life," said William Wilkinson, division chief for the Propulsion Test Division at RTC. "Without integrity, there is no real trust and without trust, no genuine relationships, personal, professional or otherwise." For Wilkinson, integrity is your reputation for keeping your word and commitments.
Integrity is a fundamental value constantly being tested and developed over time. People with integrity have proven track records of honorable behavior; they can be counted on to behave honorably even when no one is watching. Their guiding principles are inherent in relationships built on the trust and dependability they establish with others.
"Employees with integrity work just as hard whether they are being watched or not," said Monica Webb, facilities manager for the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command G-4 directorate. "They can always be counted on to do their best, and they will be honest enough to admit it if they have made mistakes." Webb feels that people of this caliber are an inspiration to others because they create a more positive and motivating work environment.
"They won't pass the blame, but they will share the credit," she said.