Regardless Of The Title Of Anyone You May Be Dealing With, Respect the Person

Leadership Lesson: One true measure of leadership is how you treat someone who can do nothing for you, ensuring their dignity, reputation, and pride remain left in tact after any interaction.

It’s obvious that throughout the workplace relationships exist, reflected in how we interact with one another.  The success of the organization is based on how smoothly those interactions function.

One of the general components of how relationships function in the workplace is the interlocking of the technical aspects and responsibilities of those relationships, for instance, from boss-to-subordinate, or colleague-to-colleague, laterally.

The other component is the professionalism which guides or serves as the foundation for that technical interaction. Professionalism, for our purposes, means courtesy, respect, and emotional intelligence, and other aspects of how we carry ourselves with others in and outside of our organization.

The best environment in which these relationships can succeed is when both the technical knowledge and professionalism can work in tandem and in unison. Neither disrupts the other. There is an even balance of technical/work know-how and professional demeanor.

So, ideally, you don’t want a situation where the technical know-how exists but the sense of professionalism is lacking. Nor do you want the situation in which everyone is professional in addressing and working with each other, but the underlying attributes that are technical to the work are not apparent or present.

In the former, the knowledge of the work is there but not the ability to put it all together through how we address each other, which would help make the environment effective, while in the latter we might know how to work with and address each other, but we don’t have the technical know-how to make that powerful cooperation effective.

In both situations you lose.

As previously mentioned technical know-how should not exist without professionalism. Tapping into the best technical know-how calls for professionalism.  That professionalism allows for greater communication and understanding within the organization’s various moving parts. A person with great technical skill is not delivering their potential if they lack basic respect and common courtesy for anyone in their organization, regardless of the title of the other person.

People are bigger than the roles that you see on their metaphorical or actual name tag. Who we are in the workplace aside from our technical skill, for the most part, is driven by who we’ve developed into outside, and before, the current workplace.

We’re all human. Even in the workplace, we are more human than worker. We can’t all claim or seek special treatment but we should all expect to be treated with common courtesy, respect and decency.

The respect for the person you see in front of you should not be dictated by their position on the organizational totem pole (hierarchy).

The common respect shown for someone should be the same from the CEO to the custodians, and from the administrative assistants to the front-line workers. No more, no less. Talking down to someone builds nothing up except for the perpetrator’s ego…for whatever reason. Absolutely nothing gets accomplished but so much gets lost, such as the other person’s commitment to the organization or group, as well as others’–who might witness such affronts–respect and view of the organization.

People should not be locked into their positions by misguided attitude, degradation, or perceptions. Respect should always exist, first and foremost, in good times and bad.

So…What About You?

  • Have you seen such instances of common respect and professionalism lacking based on the person’s position in a company?
  • How was that situation dealt with?
  • How does your organization build and encourage a culture of respect for all?

Podcast – Coach It Out Quickshots, Episode 9 – Covers This Blog Post

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