What’s the number one thing workers want at a job?
From London to Cape Town, and everywhere in between, what is it that all workers want and desire?
Organizational change expert Paul Meshanko says it’s respect. He found that across cultural divides, individuals perform at their highest level when treated well. And when an employee confronts disrespectful behavior, he or she shuts down. If they feel disrespected, they don’t give their attention, finest thinking and utmost effort.
“Treating each other with respect and dignity is powerful in the workplace,” says Meshanko, author of “The Respect Effect: Using the Science of Neuroleadership to Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace.” (McGraw-Hill, 2013)
With science to support his arguments, Meshanko says a respectful attitude in the workplace is crucial for success as an employee, colleague and supervisor.
By the way that you treat others, you set the tone for relationships and you shape the perceptions that others will have about you.
“Ten years from now people aren’t going to remember the exact things you did, how late you worked or what you said at a staff meeting. What they will remember is how they felt when they were around you,” he adds.
Among the benefits of respect is trust, which leads to the perception of safety. When the outside environment is in flux from the economy, changing technology or competition, Meshanko says that trust among co-workers helps create a stability that will survive external pressures. The need to foster trust among colleagues is often understated. But it does require a culture change.
Meshanko emphasizes that respect does not mean always agreeing with others. In fact, respectful employees and organizations encourage healthy exchange of different ideas.
A respectful organization recognizes, embraces and celebrates differences. It actively seeks diversity, not just tolerates it. More importantly, it promotes equity, encourages dialogue and absolutely insists upon fairness and civility for all of its employees.
But employees at all levels can leave a legacy of respect. Meshanko offers 10 rules of workplace respect.
1. Be aware of your nonverbal and extra-verbal cues.
2. Develop curiosity about the perspective of others.
3. Assume that everyone is smart about something.
4. Become a better listener by shaking your “but.”
5. Look for opportunities to connect with and support others.
6. When you disagree, explain why.
7. Look for opportunities to grow, stretch and change.
8. Learn to be wrong on occasion.
9. Never hesitate to say you are sorry.
10. Intentionally engage others in ways that build their self-esteem.
© CTW Features