I recently reconnected with an old friend and colleague who I worked with early in my career. Jack Hoban is an author, a combat instructor and a corporate transformation executive. His new book The Warrior Ethic presents an interesting premise:
When you disrespect someone, (in their mind back in the reptilian brain) you are threatening their life. Is it any wonder that practice isn’t working so well?
In an environment where over half of us are not engaged in our jobs and actively seeking new employment let me suggest a little respect is in order.
The basis for Jack’s argument is that there are any number of values in the world and corporations, countries and individuals can differ on many of them but one is universal. That is the value of human life. And when we disrespect someone we are saying they are beneath us or subhuman.
Sounds like a good way to trigger a defense mechanism. It may even cause active disengagement or worse sabotage.
What are some of the ways managers and people disrespect each other in the workplace?
– Mean jokes
– Assigning work at the last minute on a regular basis causing the employee to work late AGAIN
– Gossip– Talking behind their back
– Taking credit for their work
– Bullying Physical intimidation
How do we as ethical leaders ensure that we are not tolerating a culture where disrespect is causing disengagement?
1. Remember as leaders we set the example. That means no gossip, last minute assignments, bullying, etc.
2. Have a clear culture of what is tolerated and what’s not.
3. Celebrate people that display the ethic we support and coach (individually) those that do not.
We have a remarkable power in our business to create value. We create value for our customer, our employees and our owners. We can multiply that power with behavior that fosters engagement.