Leadership Lesson 6: Integrity — A Clarification

Abhishek Paul
2 min readNov 27, 2018

I’ve understood integrity simply as a moral quality, a fancier word for honesty. But now I realize it stands for something far deeper / higher and much needed for the human soul.

Integrity originates from the latin word “integer” which means “intact”. It actually refers to the wholeness of any entity. When it comes to us humans, it refers to the unity of spirit, mind and body — they are an indivisible unit, ie they are integrated.

We can see this manifested in us in the internal battles that we are constantly engaged in — the scriptures articulated it more eloquently as, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” There seem to be parts of us (mind, spirit, soul, nature — whatever we call it) which are working against the better angels in us. This inner conflict causes cracks that we work hard to hide from the world outside. We end up becoming better actors rather than a more mature person. We spend time rationalizing our shortcomings (sometimes believing it ourselves), blaming others and in a constant state of restlessness. To borrow from Shakespeare, we become mere actors in this world playing a part we know isn’t real.

The antonym of integrity actually captures its essence better. One of the opposites is fragility, ie, the person can crack under the slightest provocation. The reaction will be out of proportion, it is just an excuse to unleash the chaos inside — something which everyone involved sadly is aware of, but choose to sweep under the carpet.

Integrity then is not just being truthful with others, but begins first with being honest with ourselves.