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Whirling Chief

Integrity as a Form of Expression

I have been wanting to write about integrity for a while now because I observe too many of our clients struggle with the concept.

There is a sincere lack of congruence inside our organizations leading to loss of trust and de-formation of positive relationships. Some common examples we observe in our work are mission statements that are not lived; doctrines of respect resulting in disgrace (in action); customer-oriented slogans unsupported by routine business practices; promises during hiring betrayed by individual preferences, etc.

Especially in roles that embody direct human influence, the issue of personal integrity has increased importance.


Because integrity can serve as a glue for connection (to self and to others) or as a razor that cuts through the connection (to self and to others).

But first off, what is integrity anyway?

In our common dictionaries, integrity is often described as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”

As a psychologist, I tend to rather think of integrity as a state of being whole. I find it better related to a process of integration – a unity of our ideas, beliefs, values, and behavior. In other words, when the seen part of us – our behavior – is congruent with the unseen parts of us – our internal possessions such as ideas – we tend to lead with integrity.

Why does it matter?

There is a lot of talk about integrity being important to the make of communities and law-abiding and it is. Especially in the business society, we tend to pay more attention to the morals of our doing as an outcome.

I find there is a more esteem reason as to why our integrity matters: That’s the quality of our relatedness.

The quality of our relation to ourselves differs invariably depending on the degree of integrity we are able to experience within ourselves. This quality is a decider of impact on our self-esteem. If not nourished, it can result in a massive dent, leading to a negative base that serves the way we relate to others.

What do I mean?

When we behave in ways that conflict our judgment of what is appropriate (right or wrong), we actually lose face in our own eyes before anyone else.

For example, if someone is (in our opinion) wrongfully going at someone in a meeting and we become a witness, it is likely our intuition will tell us to interfere while our mind will tell us to stay out of it. If we listen to our rational side only to not react, walking out of that meeting, not only we judge the person responsible for misbehavior and the person who had to receive malpractice; we start judging our environment and ourselves, too. We start generating thoughts like… “This is an unsafe place, where people yell at each other.” “One day, I will be yelled at, too.” “When that day comes, no one will speak up for me either.” Then, we start being negative towards ourselves because we respect ourselves less as a result of our behavior.

If and when we repeat this pattern, we end up trusting ourselves less. When prolonged, we take a dent on our self-confidence or worse self-worth. Then, this lowered self-esteem becomes our base for building a “healthy” relationship – a very hard parallel to draw…

Even in situations where there is a value clash or complexity of context, it is imperative we choose to stay authentic and act from a place of consciousness. When we are conscious, we connect better to our true self, drawing in from a holistic place of knowledge, checking in with rationality for clarity of purpose to grow responsibility for the choice we make.

I can write so much more about the neurology and emotion of integrity, but I really want to offer a simple and quick tool for all of us to leverage in face of examples we witness lately.

When in doubt, let’s please ask ourselves these three simple questions:

  1. Am I honest (to who I am and what my heart really wants)?
  2. Am I congruent (to my values)?
  3. Am I reliable (in my action)?
  4. Am I fair (in impact)?
  5. Am I contributing to the building of trust (or taking away from it)?

If we still find ourselves break from integrity, which we all do from time to time, let’s try to follow these actions to grow from the specific experience:

  1. Own our responsibility in action and show courage to face reality as is.
  2. Seek to understand why we did what we did.
  3. If our action involves others, acknowledge explicitly the understanding of our behavior’s consequence.
  4. Take necessary action to minimize harm to self and to others.
  5. Commit to behaving differently next time.

It is a hard task to hold onto integrity while our governing structures fail to stand by humanity. Nevertheless, we can contribute to the making of it.

First, we need to remember integrity is a form of expression for our leadership virtue and our self-esteem.


  • 21 March 2019

Add a Comment

I have enjoyed this valuable wonderful article and I hope others read it.
The greater the standard of honesty, the greater of integrity.
When the seen part of us is congruentent with the unseen parts of us.
God bless you???

Moh'd Jaber says:
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