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Monday, July 25, 2011

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Aretha Franklin made the word famous.  Respect. 

"Respect your elders."   "Respect authority"     "Respect the flag"    "Respect others rights"    "Respect the deceased"   Respect the environment"   "Respect other's property"   "Respect yourself" 

Respect is one of those words we throw around a great deal.  According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary:
a : high or special regard : esteem b : the quality or state of being esteemed c plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference <paid our respects>
For our purposes I want to discuss respect in relation to the workplace, showing respect and earning respect for leaders. 
In the work place you should show your associates respect.  It is an appropriate behavior. In some instances, showing respect to another might be seen as dishonest.  It is proper to show one respect even without actually knowing the individual.  To a greater extreme it is still appropriate to show a coworker respect,  feeling in some way they have not earned it. 
This form of respect is simply good manners.  It is a set of manners and communications techniques used at work.  In treating the individual with respect, you are actually showing respect to the organization and the other associates.  You are respecting the teams contributions, 
At Ebsco this is essential.  Each new employee, on their first day are communicated the importance of respectful behavior to all their coworkers.  True respect is earned but respectful behavior is always expected from the start. Each individual, in their own way and at their own level contributes to the success of Ebsco.  The Wolf Pack.  We are stronger for each of their efforts.  This contribution earns the respect of all other associates.  It is as basic as the motto, Together we stand, Divide we fall.
Earning respect goes well beyond simple good behavior.  Earning the teams respect is fundamental to a leaders success.  The team often shows respectful behavior to a leader due to the position.  Only when the leader has proven they deserve this do they become effective in their position.  Employees will do only what they must for a boss, simply due to his/her position.  Employees will do everything they can for a boss they respect. Their success depends on the respect the team has for them.  I would like to look at a few traits that the team will use to evaluate their respect for the leader:
  1. Caring No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Employees must be treated as your most valuable resource, not a commodity.
  2. The Golden Rule Treat the team as you wished to be treated.  Just because you have a position of authority, you are no better than anyone else.  Act that way
  3. Magic Words  Thank You,  Please,  Your Welcome,  You learned them in school.  They still apply
  4. WHY  It's never enough to ask them to do something.  Tell them WHY.   Beyond building respect, they learn much more and become more valuable to the organization
  5. Listen  You were not mystically endowed with all the answers when you became a leader.  The fact is those doing the job everyday probably know allot more about it then you do.  They have something to say. Listen
  6. Be an Example  Just because you are a boss means you are being watched.  There are no double standards.  If it is good enough for your team, it's good enough for you.
  7. Celebrate their Victories  Recognize and celebrate your teams success.  They need to know you are watching, you give them credit and you are happy for them.
  8. Involvement  Involve them in the decision process.  You will be surprised at the great ideas they have.
  9. Follow Through  When you say you are going to do it  Do it. 
  10. Lead  Don't be afraid to make a decision.  They count on you to lead. 
Pretty simple.  Most of these were taught to us at a young age.  Most are no more than doing the right thing.  Taken individually none of them are difficult.  Some take a little extra time and all take vigilance to constantly follow.  Without them you will have a team achieving little more than the minimum requirements.  With them you will earn your teams respect and have the privilege to lead a highly engaged, world class group,  and ... you might have a little fun while you are at it.

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