Holding High Standards

If you hold yourself to high standards or you are willing to take strong stands on issues of integrity, welcome to the counterculture!

The high degree of cultural consensus on personal and professional standards once omnipresent within our society is at best now embraced by a bare majority or a plurality or depending on the context, it enjoys even less support. Objective standards are being increasingly replaced by subjective beliefs.

This is not new or original. Throughout human history, cultures experience periods of moral health and decline. Self-interest and social approval – once recognized as invalid means for making consequential and fundamentally moral decisions – are now embraced as dispositive decision-making tools.

Three distinct categories of people will inhabit every setting – the amoral (I see no line between right and wrong), the situational ethicist (I see the line as always moving or I can move the line depending on whether I will be rewarded or not) and those who strive to be consistently moral in their choices and decisions.

In the face of increasing opposition and constant criticism, what are those who seek to consistently adhere to a specific set of moral standards to do?

Continue to do the right thing!

Look for and cherish examples of others who even at great personal or professional cost are willing to continually practice honesty, accountability, and responsibility in their lives. Examples abound.

Encourage others to stay the course – never allow another individual of integrity to stand or suffer alone. Your encouraging words can help others persevere and you will treasure their encouragement when you are tested.

Lastly, be content in doing the right thing – avoid the human need or temptation to want reward, recognition, or approval for this is the wrong motive for the right action and we have already established that we are less and less likely to be applauded for telling others the truth or being unwilling to endorse something that should not merit our support.

Even amid the conflict and controversy that is sure to come when we do not go along with the crowd, there is a beautiful peace and a quiet confidence that comes with a life governed by transcendent truth and unchanging and uncompromised standards of integrity.


From the Teacher: Leadership Lessons with Dr. Saviak is a weekly column with the esteemed Joseph C. Saviak, Ph.D., J.D., M.A., M.S., Management Consulting & Leadership Training.


Image: Achievers.com


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