A few weeks back, I took my mom and one of her friends (kind of like my second mom) to see Kinky Boots. As you’ve probably seen at the theater, one of the actors comes out at the beginning of the show and tells us all, very respectfully, to silence our cell phones.
About 10 minutes into the show, the woman to the side of my mom takes out her phone and is furiously tapping away. My mom is a former elementary school teacher, so she’s got the ‘scary but still respectful’ voice pretty well down by now. She uses that voice on this woman, who responds “I’m closing on my mortgage right now, so I need to be doing this.” My mom tries again a few seconds later, and eventually, the woman puts away her phone. It stayed away for most of the performance.
This is a good example of disrespect. I realize closing on mortgages is important, but the actors asked for silent phones, and it benefits all the other attendees as well. You see disrespect all the time, unfortunately: at Kinky Boots, on airplanes (when did air travel get so bad, right?), in Starbucks, and, yes, unfortunately even at work.
The status of respect in the workplace in most published surveys isn’t too rosy a picture. In fact — wait for it, this is bad — in one study of 20,000 employees globally, over half didn’t feel respected by their bosses. When the managerial level was contacted regarding that same survey, 60% said they “didn’t have the time” to respect their employees.
Hmm. I understand the ‘busy busy busy’ world we all live in these days, sure, but is respecting someone else really something you need to schedule in Outlook? I’d argue ‘no,’ and strongly.
The simplest path to increased productivity is a free tool. It’s respectful recognition of accomplishments and transparency around failure. It's a connection between bosses and employees. That’s it. It doesn’t cost anything to buy — but each side needs to make time for it.
Consider this: I had a client once who was making about $100,000 at his job. He liked his boss and the relationship was respectful and positive 99 percent of the time. He was a passive job seeker, and ultimately got into a series of interviews that he wasn’t thrilled about, but kept going to. He gets the job and the pay is $165,000 — so, essentially double. But in the interviews he felt the hiring manager (his new boss, potentially) was very disrespectful and curt in parts, so he turned it down. He basically left $65,000 on the table because of respect and a connected relationship. There are some people who would never do that, of course, but there are many who always will.
The most important aspect of any business isn’t its physical assets or balance sheet or proprietary technology; it’s the respect shown daily within its walls. Oftentimes, it matters more than money.
A lot of leaders, unfortunately, according to the above research, seem to not know how to show respect in a crush of day-to-day tasks; they believe it’s something they don’t have time for. Be the #leader that not only makes time for respect but also ensures it’s part of your leadership DNA.
Leaders who work with Lisa as their executive leadership coach have seen great results when it comes to respecting others. Perhaps this is the next step for you?