I have been a Corrections Officer, a Special Forces soldier, a manger in a large company and a TaeKwon-Do Instructor. Ethics and Integrity are to me two of the most important factors to success in any business. While in the Military for 22 years it was a matter of life or death to make the right ethical decisions. In Law Enforcement and Corrections it is paramount to earning and keeping the public trust, again Ethical decisions and following through with Integrity are very important. And in private life as a manager and TaeKwon-Do Instructor where all of your employees and students look to you for guidance, integrity and ethics should be a major part of every decision made.
What is the definition of ethics? From the Merriam – Webster’s online dictionary “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation2 a: a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values”
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethics (11 May 2013)
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity (11 May 2013)
To me Integrity and ethics in my life is easy to define. Integrity to follow orders, rules, and does it in a trusting manner. Ethics is doing the right thing all of the time.
So let’s take a look at how we get our integrity and ethics for the way we work and live our lives
When we are first born we know to love, to respect and share; these are just in us at birth. Then from there it up to us, our parents, our teachers, our surroundings and our ability to want to learn good things to teach us either to have good ethics and integrity or not to have such good integrity and ethics. So from our early days on earth we are learning what integrity and ethics are all the time. We start out when we do something good or bad and our Mom’s and Dad’s praise or scold us. We are learning ethical behavior, and when we learn not to lie and when we do things right and not cut corners we are learning integrity.
So if we learn all of this while we are growing up, why do we need training in it when we become professionals? I would say it is because as a professional our profession itself will have standards. Since we all come from different parts of the United States, we will have different out looks of what our standards for living are. Also everything and everyone we learned from will have an effect on our values, integrity, and ethics. So unless we all grew up in the same house with the same teacher etc., we will have a little different set of ethics and how we handle integrity. Even if we could pass a test that demonstrate good ethics and integrity, we would still not all agree about everything we do or how we see things.
In professions where the decisions that the workers make could have an impact on someone else’s life, we had better make sure that the worker has the right set tools he needs to do his job. And two of the most important tools that a Corrections Officer, Police Officer or the Military Soldier can have, are a good understanding of integrity and ethics and what is expected of them in these fields. That means standards, which means training, which means the workers will have the right tools at their disposal to make the right decisions.
In research paper written by Milan Pagon, Professor and Dean College of Police and Security Studies University of Maribor, Slovenia titled “POLICE ETHICS AND INTEGRITY” she says the following: “It has become obvious that only the properly educated and trained police officers are able to respond adequately to moral and ethical dilemmas of their profession. Only a police officer who is able to solve these dilemmas appropriately can perform his duties professionally and to the benefit of the community. In doing so, he cannot rely solely on his intuition and experience. Not only he has to be well acquainted with the principles of police ethics and trained in moral reasoning and ethical decision-making, he also needs clear standards of ethical conduct in his profession.” http://www.police-studies.com/papers/police-ethics-integrity.pdf (19 August 2008)
As you can see that training in Ethics and Integrity are not limited to only the United States but it has been recognized that all professionals need this training especially all law enforcement officers, Military Members, and Martial Arts instructors all over the world.