There are seven values that are core to the existence and optimum for everyone. It would be vital to treat them the way they should be treated. A soldier lives and fights on behalf of the nation. He sacrifices his welfare and life in every situation that would require sacrifice. The leadership in the army is hierarchical and is guided by a code. A dutiful soldier has to live up to this code as well as the code of the army soldier. There are many situations when the soldier has to face the enemy. These situations expose the soldier to risk of death or fatal injuries. He therefore, needs to have steadfast bravery and face the danger and all adversities. A soldier has to fulfill all the work assigned to him. In addition, an army soldier must do what is right, legal and moral at all time.
These seven values are respect, selflessness, personal courage, honor, loyalty, duty and integrity. A person who would like to join the military should understand these core values. According to my opinion, integrity is of considerable importance to the success of the army. This essay discuses the relevance of integrity in the military.
Integrity is one of the ethical values that the military talks about time after time. Before we look at the importance of integrity, let us first look different definitions of integrity. The true meaning of integrity is sometimes exceedingly puzzling. Acting morally sometimes confuses with acting with integrity. Integrity is a virtue to live by. It is a quality that defines a person’s character.
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Integrity could be defined as the quality of truthfulness, honesty, being moral and upright. It is the soundness of moral character. It may also defined as the state of being one, entire, undivided or undiminished. It is a concept of being consistent in moral values, principles and actions. Hypocrisy is the appropriate opposite word for integrity. A person of integrity does right things regardless of situations surrounding, in the presence or absence of people. It is a leadership quality that is highly prized in the world. Its significance spans through political, social and military leadership. Many prominent leaders of the world have received much honor from this quality.
Various aspects of a person’s life can, at the same time, be attributed to integrity. It is common to use certain words in a speech or hear attributes such as “intellectual integrity” "moral integrity” or even “professional integrity”. This shows that there are different types of integrity. In my opinion a person may act at a certain situation with a lot of integrity and may be regarded as a manifestation of his overall integrity. Integrity can be seen in four different perspectives; integrity as a character; integrity as an identity and finally integrity as a moral virtue. For the purposes of this essay, I will discuss integrity as a virtue and a character. In my opinion, a person either has integrity or does not have integrity. A person who does not have integrity is not honest. He keeps lying to his colleagues and seniors. At the same time, he does not fulfill his duty in time. In other words, he does not meet deadlines or does not complete his work. On the other side, a person of integrity is truthful. He has sound moral values. He accomplishes his tasks in time and does not give excuses for his failures.
From a military point of view, integrity is a quality that is developed by sticking to moral principles. It demands that a soldier does or says nothing deceitfully. This explains the first importance of this highly prized quality. A person with no integrity is not trusted by anyone. People do not place faith in them to get things accomplished. Integrity builds trust in a person and a team. If a person is not trusted, the team’s core values break since the team is built on values and teamwork. In the process, the team will not achieve its goals. The army works in a team work format like a machine. Trust is the fluid that lubricates the team. If the fluidity of the team is not maintained, the team would not have enough force to drive the adversities beyond their limits.
Ones integrity determines the trust that one can obtain from others. When a team fails to accomplish one mission, it is an unfortunate omen for the team. A mistake of one individual can fail the whole team. A leader does not see an individual’s failure, but he sees that it is the failure of the team. There is a likelihood that a leader will not choose an individual who will make the team fail. If soldiers lie to each other, they fail to trust each other. People need to trust the military in all the duties accorded to it. Integrity in the army impacts confidence in the team.
Integrity is key to proper communications within the military. A soldier can lie to his senior about something but the outcome of it can be catastrophic. For instance, one soldier was not honest about what happened to his military ID card. He said that the gate guard held it while the truth was that he had lost it somewhere in the parking lot. Later on my senior found it in the parking area. He was summoned but still maintained that the guard had it. He failed to live up to integrity. What he needed to do was to report exactly what happened so that the senior could address the situation and probably order for the search. Supposing the badge had fallen into wrong hands, the badge could be used for malicious reasons. Dishonesty inhibits taking of an appropriate action or measure.
It supports healthy relationships within the army. We have seen that, integrity builds trust. Consequently trust is vital in any relationship. Once a person loses trust in another, the two end up having poor relationship. Good relationship is vital for the success of an army. Once trust is lost in a person, it may be hard to work with the person. He is seen as a betrayal to the team. People tend to keep themselves away from those who lie to them. Anything the person may say be it true or a lie will not be believed. They will automatically consider that he is lying until he proves to them that he is not lying.
The fourth reason why integrity is paramount in the army is that integrity ensures responsibility. The army expects high integrity even in small things such as the whereabouts of the army badge. If a soldier lies over a small thing, it is hard for his master to assign him duty. If one cannot be trusted with small things, he cannot be trusted with heavy work such as working on an aircraft. Dishonesty in the military therefore, disables the army’s work force. One will agree that integrity fosters duty and responsibility.
Dishonesty is punishable in the military. If one lies to his senior, he can lead to severe penalty. Honesty and truthfulness keeps one from punishment. The time when one is under punishment renders him unavailable for duty. Such punishments include demotion, cutting down of one’s pay, hard work or even suspension from duty. This can be seriously detrimental to the life of a soldier. The army member may live feeling guilty and disrespected. One day in the recruits training camp, I woke up late after others had woken up early in the morning. I rushed to the parade and missed to polish my shoes well. My supervisor noticed that, in addition to that, I had tied my shoe laces wrongly. He asked me what happened. I lied to him that my shoes were missing in the morning. I did not know that he had come to inspect the beds. He told me the truth that he had left me sleeping in the morning. I was subjected to a one week punishment of polishing all the shoes of my colleagues in the hostels for one week alongside the daily duties assigned to me. In the long run, I regretted why I lied to him instead telling the truth. I was behind schedule in many duties due to the punishment. It was not easy.
Integrity is a sign of maturity. When an army member does not say the truth, he sounds childish. Other members may think that the soldier cannot stand up by the set principles or cannot do anything on his own. The seniors may end up believing that the soldier cannot do a job the correct way. Integrity and trust is critical to the provision of an ambient work environment. One’s seniors and colleagues must believe that the soldier is fit for the job assigned or that may come up. A person of integrity eliminates doubts about him. Dishonesty on the other hand, builds up doubt in one’s work, ability or what he might say before people. One’s speech maybe looked down at.
Integrity in the military builds confidence in a soldier’s life. It boosts his self esteem. High self esteem is essential for a soldier who needs a lot of brevity. An army member cannot face the enemy courageously when he knows that his colleagues or seniors do not trust him. Integrity enforces other military values.
The military produces world known leaders even presidents. These leaders were soldiers of immense integrity. A leader must not be corrupt. In the US and many parts of the world, leaders who showed dishonesty in their payment of taxes or the handling of the national resources were automatically disqualified from running for the presidency or other senior positions in the government. Dishonest leaders are poor leaders. They are ever corrupt.
Apart from the fact that integrity is a vital characteristic of a military soldier, it is also a significant lifetime virtue to have. It should be integrated into the daily life of a soldier. One instance of lying can spoil a history of one’s life of integrity. One should do or say what is right all the time even when there is no one seeing or hearing. One who lies even when the people cannot differentiate the truth from the lies is also dishonest. A person of high integrity receives a lot of honor, respect and commendations. The society recognizes him and hails his work.
Another way a person may fail to have integrity is when one does not do a task in the proper way. Integrity is accomplishing the duty assigned to completeness. Doing work in a half hazard manner is a lack of integrity. Doing a perfect work is the responsibility of a soldier. For instance, a soldier assigned with the task of maintaining of an aircraft must ensure the work is complete. Otherwise, the imperfect work can risk the life of fellow soldiers. Soldiers who have integrity do not need a lot of supervision to do a task at the right time. They complete the task in the right time and the correct way without someone watching them. Integrity is completing a job without cutting corners.
Meeting deadlines is essential for any soldier of integrity. Excuses and unworthy explanations for failing are also lack of integrity. Most excuses are lies. Integrity is taking responsibility for one’s mistakes and failures. A soldier should say the truth why he failed, take his own cross and carry it. Blaming others or circumstances are not integrity. He should not fear to tell the truth even if it may be hurting.
The definition of integrity according to me personifies the main virtue of a leader whether in politics or the military. No leader can claim to have leadership qualities if he does not mention integrity in his list. It is common to find wrong people in leadership positions. This frustrates the subjects especially when the people have no ability to air their grievances. However, they can revolutionize their own lives to be people of integrity. According to my opinion, integrity separates leaders from people who are not. A leader is sound in morals free from corrupt influences.
A person can decide to practice integrity through commitment to assigned obligations, honesty in all endeavors, and fairness and equality when treating all people. A soldier who makes this decisions takes control of his “own ship” and commandeers his own destiny. One will finally find true happiness inside himself. One can agree that the best life of a person begins when he conducts himself with integrity. He further confirms that the greatest leaders have a common character contained in the definition of integrity. Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of the soldiers and army leaders of the World War II, once said that the supreme quality of a leader is undoubtedly integrity and no success can be achieved without it whether it is in the army or the office.
Integrity unleashes the warrior within a person. One can realize and fulfill his goals when he defines integrity in his life. At the same time, integrity enables a soldier to remain comfortable with himself and achieve happiness in his career. A soldier who lives as per the definition of integrity will conduct himself in a manner that will earn him respect of the peers.
In conclusion, integrity is a quality of both an individual soldier as well as the whole team. It is a quality that cements the team together for the purposes of achieving goals. It is the main ingredient of trust for not only one soldier but also for the whole team. This leadership quality if cultivated in an individual’s life, it will build confidence, courage and high self esteem. Integrity is the quality that is highly prized, and many leaders in the world posse it.
In summary, integrity builds trust in the military. It fosters proper communication in the army; limits the number of punishments that a soldier may receive and maintains good relationship between soldiers. Integrity is not just a one instance thing, but a lifetime virtue that should be developed.