What’s Integrity? An action or an intention? Or both?

I’ve been pondering this thought for a while. Integrity is a huge value for me. I’ve wondered lately how do you tell if an action is in integrity or not? Or is it less about the action and more about the intention behind the action?

I know many of you will start screaming at the screen in a minute and shake your head vigorously at me with the example I’m about to explore – politicians!

So if you haven’t heard, there is this thing called Brexit happening in Britain where the UK is leaving the EU. The politicians are arguing over how to leave the EU; there’s a lot of division among people and politicians (not that politicians aren’t people) over remaining or leaving. And if leaving, how should we leave – soft or hard, whatever those mean.

There are some politicians who have quit the cabinet as they do not agree with the deal that has been negotiated. There are some politicians who have remained in the cabinet that don’t agree with the deal and feel they should stay to help improve the situation.

Which of those actions demonstrate integrity – leaving when you disagree or staying when you disagree?

Or is it the reason that you leave or stay that decides the integrity? You leave because it compromises your values or you stay to try to be an agent of change?

Honestly I’m not sure. The leadership map I learned this last year says ‘STAY’ meaning when you do something and it goes wrong, stay to fix it or make it better. Maybe some of those politicians who left had ‘stayed’ and then after a while of trying to fix it decided to leave.

What do you think integrity is?