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R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Find out what it means to me)

Optimize Blog - June 19, 2013 - 0 comments

Being based here in Canada we have recently witnessed a considerable amount of poor behaviors in government leaders with varying degrees of a lack of respect for both their position and the department that they lead. We only have to look at any international news media to see that this type of thing is not restricted to North America.
While it is disappointing to read about this type of behaviour it is also a reminder of how important it is to both command respect and to treat others with respect. Working with clients we almost invariably come across ‘respect and trust’ stated as a core value and yet this can mean many things to many people and perhaps of more concern is that such a generic statement often loses its meaning.
Developing and nurturing a respectful work environment is key to ensuring a productive and sustainable business. Research shows that employees list fairness and respect in their top two requirements since Mercer have been conducting studies over the past 25 years. When leaders fail to deliver the required level of respect, it is the number one reason why people leave a good job.
There are plenty of books, blogs and academic papers that are concerned with the subject matter and despite respect being a basic part of human nature; it is often not delivered in the workplace as we can see from the research.
As a leadership accountability it is clear where the fault lies……
One reason for this apparent failure to get it right is the fact that many of today’s managers and leaders developed in a far different environment. They trained and rose up through the ranks in businesses that emulated 1980s command and control approaches to management, typified by General Electric’s former chief executive Jack Welch.
Respecting employees makes a difference in how they feel, participate and move along with your ideas and toward your vision of what you are trying to achieve as a leader. Respect ensures that they will speak up, that they’ll contribute more and walk away feeling like their ideas have been heard and considered.
Promoting a respectful workplace requires, at its heart, consistent modeling of the desired behaviours. The behaviours that model a respectful attitude cover the full spectrum of a leader’s activities. It is demonstrated through the way in which the leader deals with cultural and other forms of diversity. It is manifested in the way we deal with dissenting opinions or with unconventional ideas. It radiates through the small practices of everyday acknowledgment of people and acknowledging their achievements.
Respect is hard won and takes work to maintain but nevertheless is a leadership investment that needs to be made. Aretha Franklin may have been on to something….

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