Who Are You When No One’s Looking? A Lesson in Integrity #30in30

  Be honest. Tell the truth. Have you considered claiming someone else’s  kid on your taxes since you didn’t work the year before? Maybe you thought about adding a fake position to pad your resume and up the chances of getting the $20,000 raise with the new gig?  Or how about railing on a friend behind her back when you disagree with her choice of husband but smile kindly in her face overflowing with compliments?  We talk a lot about integrity, we know what it is, but why is it so hard to follow through?

Todays blog for  #30in30 is about  me and my struggle to stay truthful even when it hurts. John Maxwell, one of the my favorite authors on leadership,  says integrity means,  “I am who I am,  no matter where I am or who I am with.”

I’m not perfect, I jack stuff up ALL the time even when I’m not trying.   But  I am trying do better and learn from my mistakes.  I paraphrase the biblical scripture Romans 3:23  when  it says that “we all fall short of the glory of God.”  So even on our best days, we need his measure of grace to get by. Here’s my experience with learning the value of integrity. I supervised a student in a counseling setting.  She chose the setting  because it was near  her home,  she could get class credit and it would be a good starting point for the center to branch out into the community. Even with all the benefits, it wasn’t a good fit because of low staffing and our poor communication. We both noticed things we didn’t like but  instead of both of us honestly sharing our concerns, we let it build up.  Sometimes with all good attempts, it’s just not a good fit. But when faced with the opportunity to  be candid about the appropriateness of the placement with her advisor, I shrunk.  One, I wanted to make sure the student to stay in good standing. Two, I assumed (deadly) that if she wasn’t pleased, she would take the initiative to share her concerns with her supervisor on her own. After all, it was her learning process. And third, I wanted to make sure I  looked good to continue developing a network. So, instead of the real, I gave a glossed up review  about her work and productivity. I wasn’t honest and it was the worst thing I could’ve done. In no way did it help her or myself.   If I could do it all over again, I’d address it from the jump and be as proactive as possible.   I  left  a poor impression with her supervisor, destroyed a relationship with the student, and had to deal with a tainted  reputation. It was a tough lesson to learn, but I earned it and realized it’s never worth it to cover for anyone.

Ethical dilemmas exist in every area of life. Do I tell my boyfriend his friend is cheating on his wife? Do I tell the boss my coworker was drinking on the job? There will always be a choice in telling the truth  regardless of who you work with. Just because  you and your coworker work at the same corporation, does NOT mean you use  the same value system. There are ministers who teach every Sunday  and don’t believe the teachings of the Bible.  So don’t assume because a person works/worships with you, their beliefs are the same as yours. Integrity comes down to  money, greed, and selfishness. Whenever  we are willing to manipulate the rules so  we can somehow benefit, it always ends up being a lose-lose situation. It only took me one time to learn the lesson of being honest even when it potentially could be a negative outcome. It was difficult, but I learned one of the most valuable lessons in my lifetime. Who are you and what will you do when the truth is hard?


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