Disaster Zone

Leadership and Integrity Go Hand-in-Hand

Don't confuse loyalty with integrity.

by Eric Holdeman / January 18, 2018

In this blog, I write about emergency management, homeland security and, on occasion, leadership. These are topics near and dear to me. I'd add gardening, but ... I don't think that topic fits this blog.

On the leadership front, there is this Washington Post commentary about the testimony of Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen before a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. All the drama of her testimony comes from her being in the the meeting where it was reported that President Trump used the term "s---hole countries" to describe Haiti and countries in Africa.

Here is the hearing in its entirety including her actual testimony so you can judge for yourself. And there is a shorter clip at this link.

This is an Eric Holdeman quote, "Only you can take away your integrity." No one can make you lie about something. It is an individual's choice to make. I know if the reported remark was made by my boss, I would have taken note and been able to recall the specifics. And, given President Trump's proclivity to repeat himself several times over, anyone in that room would know what specifically was said. 

There there is the loyalty question. I've very familiar with the concept of loyalty, which comes from my military service. If you have something to say to your boss, you say it in private. Loyalty demands that you give your best advice, no matter how you think it might be received. Loyalty demands that you support your boss's point of view since you serve him or her. When you can no longer do that ethically, you resign. However, loyalty does not demand that you lie under oath to a direct question. Avoiding the answer by providing an euphemism in lieu of answering directly muddies the water, distorts the truth and sullies your personal reputation. The whole affair tarnishes your personal character and will lead people to not believe you in the future. 

Personally, I'm disappointed ...