In 2019, Experitec’s Leadership Team held Workplace Respect Workshops with every single Experitec employee owner to ensure clarity, alignment, and understanding of the cultural expectations of respect in our workplace. Today, I facilitated this same workshop with the executive team of Novaspect, another Emerson Impact Partner. The irony of conducting Workplace Respect training on inauguration day is not lost on me.
For the past four years, whether or not you liked former President Trump’s politics, policies, and choices, I think most would appreciate his style and approach could at times be quite disrespectful. A quick google search of “Disrespect” and “President Trump” provides numerous examples of his name calling, making fun of other people for appearance, disabilities, and gender, and belittling others with whom he disagreed. I think many workplaces have historically tolerated a corporate culture which accepted or maybe, in some cases, even promoted a culture where disrespectful behavior was acceptable. In fact, in order to become a leader or gain respect, many needed to participate in this type of disrespectful behavior. Former President Trump with his many years of experience likely adopted his style from these historical approaches.
We now have a new President of the United States who said today:
“We can treat each other with dignity and respect.”
“Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another.”Joe Biden, President of the United States
The words dignity and respect are a critical part of the framework of any respectful workplace. Both creating and maintaining a respectful workplace is essential for every workplace culture now and in the future. As individuals and companies, we can absolutely disagree on policy, approach, practices, beliefs and a variety of topics and issues. In fact, I personally believe these disagreements and discussions can lead to tremendous insight, learning, and results. We must, however, learn to always be respectful and treat each other with dignity in our interactions, conversations, discussions, and workplaces. We don’t have to like each other, accept each other, agree with one another’s’ beliefs, or even respect each other’s beliefs or choices. We can disagree and still choose to be respectful in our interactions, conversations, words, behaviors, and workplaces.
Every single person is capable of choosing to be respectful in their interactions with others. All workplaces must strive to promote, encourage, and even require or demand their employees learn how to interact respectfully and do so at all times. The time has passed for workplaces to accept disrespectful and inappropriate behavior as commonplace. Our schools and children are taught to treat others respectfully and we must set a better example in our workplaces. I want my workplace to be a workplace where I would be proud and want my son and twin daughters to work.
I am proud of the Experitec workplace and our employee owners who I believe take this to heart and live it every day. We may not yet be perfect but as a leadership team we have committed to continuing to ensure a respectful workplace is a core part of our culture and values. Any workplace with a culture of respect will reap the many benefits of employee commitment, productivity, engagement, satisfaction, and overall results. Employees who are respected and can be their true selves in the workplace will undoubtedly be happier, give more of themselves, and the results will follow.
What should you do if you are a leader and want to ensure you create a respectful workplace? I encourage you to consider a strategy which is appropriate for your business and culture. The strategy we at Experitec chose is:
Whatever your strategy – you must take action, set the tone, provide clarity of expectations, and ensure understanding of those expectations.
In workplaces that continue to look different more and more each day we must learn to embrace our differences, respect one another, and create workplaces where people can perform at their best. After all, the better that people perform, the better results they will generate, the better businesses we can create, the better communities we will build, and the better nation we become.
Please take a moment to complete the poll below – I’m interested to see how society is doing at creating respectful workplaces!