API Equals Integrity
Alternate Perspectives Incorporated was built on the three values of Accountability, Performance, and Integrity (API). So what is integrity?
According to Elizabeth Perry, (https://www.betterup.com/blog/integrity-in-the-workplace#what-does-integrity) integrity means that you are honest, ethical, and follow defined moral principles. At API, and on our Job Corps Centers, it means employees take their commitments seriously, are proactive and ask questions when they don’t understand their responsibilities, and are accountable for their outcomes. As a result, the Center, the staff, the students, and the business thrive. Ms. Perry discusses seven traits that a person with integrity possesses. I have chosen the top four and modified them to Job Corps to “make it real.”
Valuing honesty and openness.
Let’s face it, it is not always easy to be honest and open, especially about mistakes. Some people go through life seeing how much they can get away with and not get caught. This is the opposite of integrity and does not meld with the API culture, New Orleans Center culture, or our Ottumwa Center culture. It does not provide a good workplace model for our students. At times, today’s political world and media seem to glorify the lack of integrity, but that is not the path to follow. Being honest and open allows you to live a fearless life and sleep every night without worries.
Taking responsibility and accountability for your actions, good and bad.
This is relatively simple. It just means taking blame out of your vocabulary and knowing how, where, and when you should act. Moliere said, “It’s not only what we do, but also what we do not do for which we are accountable.” As an API Job Corps staff member, we need to ask ourselves daily: Is what I am doing harming or helping students? Can I do something different that would increase our students' retention and make Job Corps a great experience for them (within the Job Corps rules)? How can I say yes? It is that simple?
Respecting yourself and others around you no matter where you are.
Often times we may not realize we are acting disrespectfully. If we practice the following behaviors, others (fellow colleagues or students) will feel respected.
Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint. Let others speak before you join in.
Refuse to insult, ignore, or put down people or their ideas. If you do, say you are sorry and mean it.
Be aware of your body language, tone of voice, and your words. Most of our communication is transmitted in our body language and tone. Read that angry email a few times before you send it. Email is a great tool, but it is not to be used for difficult conversations.
Improve your emotional intelligence. This will help you to relate with empathy, understand your coworkers and our students, and improve your relationships with both.
Treat everyone fairly. Treating people differently can create a hostile culture. It just isn’t the right thing to do.
Practice and encourage praise. It costs nothing and means everything.
Demonstrating reliability and trustworthiness.
According to author Patrick Lencioni, (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team), trust is the foundation of all relationships and critical for all teams. We know that once trust is broken, it is very difficult to rebuild. Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Ask yourself daily if you are demonstrating the behaviors that instill trust. Ask others if they trust you and work continually to gain and maintain trust.
Please remember that Alternate Perspectives Incorporated was built on the three values of Accountability, Performance, and Integrity (API). It is more than an expectation; it is essential to the culture that we are building together.