Volume 17 Number 12 - December 3, 2019

Relationships, Respect and Richness

A leadership team that does not respect every one of its employees will fail. It’s only a question of time. Respect doesn’t require we like every one of them or enjoy their company; respect simply means to acknowledge their worth as a person. That should be easy.

As we invest time with family and friends during these end-of-year holidays, we are reminded of the gamut of relationships we have. Most of us have relatives that drive us nuts. And there are those we love with all our hearts and can’t wait to see.

We have relationships with good neighbors, obnoxious neighbors, and strangers walking dogs along the sidewalk. Drivers merging into traffic, taking the awaited parking spot or refusing to let a car in when exiting the church parking lot. People holding doors while others let it slam shut behind them.

There are significant distinctions in the nature of our relationships.  Similarly, respect won’t manifest identically with everyone. But respecting the worth of a person while objecting to a specific behavior or disagreeing with a belief is a characteristic fundamental to effective leadership.

An employee in a strategic role who cannot think strategically is not a bad person. He’s in a position to fail. Respect could look like helping him develop strategic thinking skills or changing his role. Or in some cases, helping him leave the organization to a better fit. Respect for others relying on his success does not allow you to avoid the situation.  

The problem of an employee who doesn’t reliably get to work on time must be addressed.  To ignore it is to disrespect her coworkers.

Identify the behavior with facts and discuss them with the employee. Perhaps she simply doesn’t see the impact of her tardiness on coworkers. There are numerous life situations that can cause that behavior; perhaps you can help her overcome those or change her start time while still meeting company needs. When all else fails, help her leave the organization dignity intact.

To eat dinner only with those whom agree with everything we say would be boring. To work only with those we want to take home for dinner would be limiting.

When leaders say that people are the company’s most important resource, demonstrated respect for the worth of each employee is the only way to back it up. To say it and not do it is disrespectful to all.

Acknowledging diversity of relationships can help us consider the many avenues respect for people can take.

Relationships and respect bring a richness to the cauldrons of our lives and businesses. Don’t take either for granted or believe that success can be attained without them.

The Starting Pistol

Alexis de Tocqueville:
"We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects."

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"None of us is perfect. It is the responsibility of leadership to create an environment in which the whole person is valued."

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