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Situational Integrity Destroys Teams from Within

Integrity Defined: Doing what is good, right and proper even at personal cost.

When a leader is caught in a lie, what do the people they lead think? They don’t double down on their commitment level. The opposite happens. The people begin to question everything. When relative truths or situational integrity become part of a leader’s modus operandi, the entire organization begins to deteriorate.

Relative truths are not truths at all. They are lies. Why? Because when we leave out information, our motives are rarely pure. We are usually trying to protect ourselves or deceive someone without actually telling an outright lie.

Situational integrity is not Integrity. The root word for Integrity is integer – which means whole or pure. That means part time integrity is not Integrity at all. If we only exercise Integrity in situations that put us in a good light or there are no risks involved, that is not Integrity.

We must examine our motives when we are tempted to utilize relative truths or situational Integrity. Perhaps the best filter for determining whether our motives are pure are The Three Rules of Thumb.

The Three Rules of Thumb

  1. Does this action attempt to deceive or allow anyone to be deceived?

  2. Does this action gain or allow the gain of privilege or advantage which I or someone else would not be otherwise entitled.

  3. Would I be satisfied if I were on the receiving end of this action?

If we use these questions before we make the critical choices leaders must make, our decisions will almost always be wise and demonstrate the Integrity all leaders need to have. The Integrity that shines through our decisions, when we utilize The Three Rules of Thumb, will inspire commitment from the people around us.

They will see a leader who never intentionally deceives someone by leaving out information. They will see a leader who does the right thing even if it could hurt their possibility for promotion. They will see a leader who selflessly thinks about how their choices affect the people around them.

The bottom line is, they will see someone whom they want to follow. We all want a leader of Integrity- someone we believe has the Courage to ask themselves these three questions before they make a decision. That is someone we would all commit to following.

Now the question is, based on your recent choices, “Would you follow you?”

Dig Deep Questions:

  • Which rule of the Three Rules of Thumb have you seen leaders violate most?

  • Which of those rules do you need to ask yourself more often?


Exercising Integrity takes work and is a lifelong journey. We want to partner with you as you practice the habit of Integrity daily, which is why we have created FREE tools and resources to guide your journey.

To make it easy to keep the definition of Integrity visible on your screens and devices, we would like to share our FREE Integrity backgrounds for desktop and mobile available for download at:

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