All About Integrity
In the July issue of the TOASTMASTER magazine, in her 2nd last VIEWPOINT article, our outgoing International President, Ms. Jana Barnhill writes on ‘The Courage to Conquer Begins at the Core’. The virtue of INTEGRITY pops up and it’s only fitting that, integrity is spoken about. Communication and Leadership skills have integrity.
It’s a quality very important in the world around us, in light of recent failures in our economy and business. Integrity is a quality that is not initially mentioned when you hear and are told about Toastmasters. Along with confidence which we learn to acquire and develop in Toastmasters, the confidence to speak and lead well, integrity is vital in keeping a sane, fair, competent and professional world around us, regardless of what you do and where. Not convinced? Read this article The Importance of Communication Skills (for most anyone in everyday life).
Years ago, long before I was born, much of business was done ‘ON A HANDSHAKE’, (so I am told). There were no lawyers signing reams of papers which may have been written with grayish jargon such that, if needed, would be read and interpreted with an “out-of-court settlement” or stalemate. Consider that business sealed with a handshake ONLY had the person’s INTEGRITY and honesty to resolve issues which arouse thereafter, and nothing else ! No lawyers, No courts, No lawsuits. Don’t get me wrong. We do need lawyers, but as you will have heard many times, “Keep it Simple”. Perhaps bring in the lawyers when absolutley necessary, but try to resolve issues long before you need to call them in with their expertise.
Ms. Barnhill speaks of a false credit put forth to TI for a member achieving a level, but that person’s response to TI in a phone call was, ‘I just received a certificate from you but I haven’t been in Toastmasters for years’. Much of what we put forth to TI for credit is with full compliance to our honesty. No one watches over us or audits us to ensure we met all the criteria. So it is left up to us to question ourselves in such, and ask, “What point is there in putting forth something where I know myself, is inaccurate or bogus?” It starts to become increasingly important as we rise out of the club and take on senior leadership roles in Toastmasters at the Area, Division, District, or World Headquarter levels, not to mention the general public. Especially important is when we become Coach/Mentors as this is what we project, keeping in mind, it’s not just us as individuals we represent, but TOASTMASTERS in general.
At our club officer training session yesterday which I presented at, I sat in on a JUDGES and JUDGING workshop and reflected how, we as judges of speech contests, are asked to perform with full integrity and honesty. So too when we do speeches from manuals and may realize, we haven’t met most of the objectives and personally decide to REDO THE SPEECH.
Our perception and skill at exercising personal INTEGRITY is always called upon as Toastmasters, wether it be in delivering a speech, evaluating, judging speech contests, presenting at Club Officer Training, or taking TM outside the club to organizations . With our regular meetings and involvement, INTEGRITY just naturally becomes ingrained within each of us, so that when we do return to our daily lives, at work or play, that INTEGRITY is naturally there. Sometimes at work, I witness it being exercised, at senior levels of management, where the questions being asked, are being used to decide and formulate a response and action plan. Sometimes, if a mistake or oversight was made, so be it. Admit such, absorb the loss, and move on.
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