The Integrated Manager (Integrity is the virtue)

May 15, 2024

The language of integration, especially to an American audience, provokes the images of Jim Crow, a period in our history in which racial injustice manifested itself publicly through legal segregation. While resistance to unjust segregation is necessary for public justice, it is also necessary in our moral lives and in your witness as a manager. In our individual moral lives, however, the subject is not racial separation, but the often observed separation between one’s thoughts, deeds, and words. The opposite of such separation in each of us goes by the name of integrity, another one of the virtues.

To be an integrated Christian manager is to be, as Jesus describes in the beatitudes, pure of heart. It is to be innocent of Jesus’ accusation against the scribes and teachers of the Law who sought to kill him: that they were hypocrites. To be an integrated Christian manager is to not only be faithful to one’s word, but to be clear in one’s word as well. There ought be no daylight between what we say, what we mean, and what we do. This clarity is not only a kindness to those whom we manage, but it is a salve to our own conscience as well: it is a torturous existence to constantly maintain different personas depending on one’s audience. 

To seek to be an integrated person is to be whole and undivided, precisely what the Scriptures mean when we see the word, “perfect”. It means that if someone were to run a fine tooth comb through your life, they would find, above all, consistency. As with all of the virtues, this ought to be something for which we strive by the power of the Holy Spirit, but it is also one where its absence is lamented by all who come into contact with the hypocrite. An integrated Christian manager keeps their word, especially when it is hard to do so. An integrated Christian manager’s commitments are clear, both to their neighbor and to God. But that must not merely be present externally. It must be, as all the virtues are, simultaneously internal.

For the next month, consider what it might mean to seek to be an integrated person. It is easy to think that we are 2 or 3 different people: one person at home, one person at work, one person at church, and so on. But integrity demands that our commitments be consistent in each of those spaces. My church ought not be the only beneficiaries of my compassion. My family ought not be the only beneficiaries of my generosity. My colleagues at work ought not be the only beneficiaries of my professional gifts. To be integrated is to be reminded that I am one person, not many, and in so doing, to remember that I need my team and my brothers and sisters as much as they may need me. May we live and work in such a way!

 

Sic ‘em, Bears!