The importance of integrity

When we renovated our home, we were trying to bring it out of the 1970s (think Brady Bunch house) into the present day. There were the inevitable challenges, of course. But, also, a couple of surprises.

The first surprise was that I didn’t think we would need to get tradesmen in to fix the mistakes of other tradesmen. 

One carpenter, as he was doing some work in a bedroom, managed to drill a hole through the tiles of an adjoining ensuite.  

I understand there are no perfect people and that mistakes happen. And I was somewhat heartened by the carpenter’s apology, his taking of responsibility, and offer to repair the damage to our satisfaction. 

Long story short, in the space of an hour, he reneged on his commitment and I ended up asking him to leave. 

It was not the accident so much, but his lack of integrity in honouring his word and fixing his mistake, that struck me most of all. 

I mentioned the incident to the builder who referred the carpenter to me. The builder came out to inspect the damage. 

This is where the second surprise came in, a far more pleasant one. The builder offered to pay in full for the repair himself, even though the carpenter did not work for him. He said it was the right thing to do. 

A very kind gesture, we thought. He even followed up two weeks later to see how we were going in having the tiles repaired and to restate his offer. At his insistence, we ended up splitting the repair bill with him.

However, I was more struck with the integrity behind that offer – doing the right thing, even when there was a cost. The builder said he had always worked that way. 

Integrity is the ability to consistently act with honesty and in accordance with strong moral principles. Integrity is not always easy though. If it were easy, everyone would do it, all of the time. It can be hard when there is a cost.

To be known as a good man or woman, as someone with integrity, is a very great compliment. There is also a sense of worth in knowing that we are acting true to our values and that we treat people well. 

What moral principles are important to you? And are you acting in accordance with them?

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