Recently, my colleagues and I facilitated an extensive training series with the entire staff at a regional medical center in Iowa. The focus of our work was on character and ethics in the workplace, specifically in the healthcare environment.
We introduced the concepts of both Performance and Moral Character through an opening activity where the participants identified who in their life helped guide them to success both personally and professionally. As they shared aloud the person and traits that had an impact on their life, we captured the traits in two columns on a large flip chart in the front of the room.
The word “caring” quickly surfaced in each of the sessions and was initially listed on the Moral Character column in our exercise as an obvious trait associated with being our “best self.” The employees had a great discussion around the fact that in health care, caring is essential for them to do their “best work”- which we know would be classified as a Performance Character trait. We as facilitators agreed with their insightful dialogue and rationale. We listed caring in both columns.
This post is not to question the definition of Performance and Moral Character but to illustrate how critically important both concepts are in the workplace. It was very gratifying to hear a cross section of health care professionals and support staff engaged in a conversation around the importance of character in the workplace. Can you think of other professions that might list certain traits as both Moral and Performance Character? How often do you pull from your moral character to do your best work? How often do you pull from your performance character to be your best self?
Director of Outreach
Institute for Character Development
Smart & Good Regional Center-Iowa