In life today, we have dealt with many different challenges. As humans we are accountable for meeting certain guidelines in most of everything we accomplish. For most of us it is how we were raise and what values that were instilled in us by our parents. Ethical integrity is not being nice to others but being truthful to ourselves, on and off work. Ethics and integrity go hand in hand in how we live our lives. As we progress in our work ethics, our values strengthen and we start to take shape. As we look further and in this subject, we will find that integrity is used in the most of values that we choose to use.
Looking online at Dictionary.com, it defines integrity as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Today’s society believes that ethical integrity is more of a standard than an option. In the Air Force they use something that is called to Core Values and the first Core Value is Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in All We Do. As an Air Force Military Training Instructor I instill integrity from day one of basic training. When I get them on the first night, I am informing them of what integrity is and how to apply it in everyday life. When they graduate from basic training they can apply this in their career and be responsible as adults and have a new set of values.
An article on ethics and integrity was printed by Bob Czimbal and Michele Brooks, director and seminar leaders for The Abundance Company. They discuss how if you have ethics plus integrity you get alignment. Ethics as stated from Czimbal and Brooks, is an external system of rules and laws. Usually there are rewards when we follow the rules and punishment when we break them. With this definition stated brought the word of integrity which is defined an internal system of principles which guides our behavior. The rewards are intrinsic. Integrity is a choice rather than an obligation. It may be influenced, but cannot be forced upon another person. Integrity is doing what is right even if no one is looking.
Most businesses today have you review their code of ethics to ensure you know what the rules you must follow so that you know how the business works and flows and one. From the military point of view, I get briefed of what is expected of me before I step foot on the job. I am explained what I can and cannot do in the work place. I also have to read a few regulations that the Air Force writes and we must follow that correlate with the local workplace laws. It reminds us that Integrity in the workplace is a must and just because you might not always be supervised you must be true to yourself in some situations and do the right thing. By doing so it shows our employer that we are representing the Air Force with the use of integrity and that we can represent ourselves with a set of values the Air Force instills in us from day one.
The way a person conducts themselves at work is observed from all your coworkers every day. Some things might be acceptable at work as they work off work. The codes of ethics are there to remind us how to behave at work and to not bring inappropriate behavior to the workplace. A lot of certain behavior is not acceptable at the workplace such as sexual harassment. That is why the rules are required to be enforced by all employees. If a high number of inappropriate behavior complaints are reported we then get together and remind the whole group that this is unacceptable and to remember the code of ethics that we use. Sometimes we have individuals re-read the code to refresh their memory. Other times we bring outside agencies in to talk to the group and to use real stories to educate how even the smallest of things can breakdown a workplace.
As a Military Training Instructor I strive to become the best that I can be. As I teach these values to the recruits I also learn a few new ones myself. I am supposed to be the image of a perfect being I emulate integrity and show them how to represent the Air Force in the proper way. Before I became an instructor, I was always the individual who reminded people what integrity was but they didn’t care what integrity was. I was raised not knowing what that was. When I joined the Air Force I learned what integrity was and was able to pass it along to every trainee to take along with them along in their career. If I can have my life changed by a few Values in my life I want everyone to have what I have. The longer we work at a certain workplace we will build trust with the workers and receive a good reputation. Accomplishing the work and the way we handle ourselves around our co-workers, over time, gives them confidence to do anything. Going back to Czimbal and Brooks, Skills for Success, their formula for integrity and ethics does equal alignment.
To look at this from a different perspective, Clark, author of Why Social Work Practitioners Need Research Ethics Knowledge, takes a different paproach into ethical integrity. The article mentions that (pg 5) practitioners are under pressure, they use intervention and assessments to use as the projects in their study field of ethics. The Code of Federal Regulations is also known as their “common rules”. There are three designated major categories of vulnerable people; which in the past have been exploited because of their compromised status in society, cognitive limitations associated with age, or their medical vulnerabilities. Social workers are authorized to take action when concerns outweigh the integrity of their job. In the ethical integrity, earning trust and respect are very critical when dealing with a job like this. There are language and culture barriers that can slow things down. This is a job that requires an open mind and the sense of compassion and consideration.
There are different types of ethical issues that integrity plays an important role. As the employer is an individual comes to me with certain issue I will have to be careful how I handle them. There different issues involving other people that can affect the way a decision is made in any certain matter. Depending on the decision you make, it could be good or bad. It is knowledge and experience and what words we decide to use when dealing with individual with issues. We actually learn what to say to individuals with time in a business we also learn from the individuals with the issue on how to handle the next person with the same types of issues. In my job as an instructor I deal with this all the time. When a recruit comes to me with an issue I have to take into consideration that I might not like this person because he has not been progressing with the rest of the group. I have to put that aside when he asks for help on a personnel issue. I cannot make a decision based on the fact he is a slow learner.
From the experience of management and styles used by my leaders, from my point of view is to always set the example and teach them the correct way on how to use integrity and pass it on to others. Being a professional at all times allows you to show you employers what a leader should represent and how decisions are made. Ethics plays a huge part in all of this. When we work if we use integrity when we make decisions you will see more quality in peoples work as the time progresses. You can attempt to teach ethical integrity but it will determine on the person if they apply it or not.
As an employer you have to give the hard feedback on employee performance no matter how much you would hate to. To have and keep an open mind, integrity involves a part of humility that decided our actions and decisions. Over the years of doing this, we learn from the people that we counsel and the experience in handle these situations. Did we pick up a board that no one even seen and if not picked up would have someone tripped and injured themselves? If that had happened in my job that would have been a real bad incident. Using integrity means you always do the right thing even know now sees you accomplish the task. It is the principle of the thing that we look at. Do we or do we not may be many of the questions when we walk by something or someone. From the time your day starts you may have to plan your day and it may go the way you want it to it won’t go the way it was intended. As long as we consider throughout the day the that your mind will assist you in making the correct decision and keep us on top of the principle and make the correct choice in ethical decisions.
So what is ethical integrity? The definition from the dictionary broke down the words
into their category. We know honesty is the core root of principles that we live by. The
key really is in the morality of principles that we use; our conscience mind is pretty
unique and valuable to our inner most selves.
Ethics is basically the moral part of the principle in the way we act, what we say, and do as to how we listen and use our conscience for the common sense. As said already when it comes to teaching others, we have a code that is lived by, whether it is at work or at home it is for the living day to day basis as life brings many challenges. To be responsible and utilize the tools given and with that keep learning more skills for life as each day is lived. As an individual we are liable for our behavior and our actions. The
wisdom gathered can be from many sources. There are those who live by the ten commandments, there are those who have a set of principles that they live by through an organization or nonprofit organization. There are those that have a different religion with
their beliefs. The good does not have to come from a book or a piece of paper, but it does come through the inner self of a person and by the laws of nature, we are entitled to use respect, to keep compassion, to seek rather than be the one to get, do rather than be lazy, and so on. The wisdom gathered as mentioned endures with experience. We use ethics as an external overview while integrity is from within, this keeps the compatibility as open
as our mind.