“A lack of societal respect has turned the Golden Rule
into the least important rule of human behavior.”
This old guy has spent slightly over eight decades maneuvering through the maze of life. When I was a youngster in a Catholic elementary school, we pledged allegiance to the flag and said a prayer before starting the first class of the day. In high school, the entire student body gathered in the auditorium and plagued allegiance to the flag. We had a love for our flag, country, and God and were not embarrassed about these affections. They were in our DNA.
There were “yes sir” and “yes mam” from our mouths when we responded to questions from an adult, particularly our teachers. My parents were not strict about them for these greetings, but we knew better than to address other adults with “yea” and “no” to their questions. You respected adults. It was just the expectation.
Fast forward to today, and those requirements are all but gone. We are in what I’ll call “The Era of Impoliteness and No Manners.” I’m not sure who is to blame, but some of it has to fall on the back of parents. We can also allocate to societal norms, the loosening of interactive behaviors, and probably a few other things that don’t come to mind as I write. Manners have diminished to such a low level they soon may go the way of the Dodo bird!
In today’s workplace culture, respect has become the “big word.” Managers forgetting to display some level of concern can quickly find themselves in the unemployment line. Rapid turnover is the reaction of the day moving quicker than a super hero! There’s little room for error, and a judgmental mindset is a pervasive environment in which managers find themselves. The rush to judgment and declaring guilt without any validation of testimony has become the norm. I’m not suggesting we should allow harassment of employees without accountability. Still, it would be nice to allow due process to occur before sentencing someone to the “shame corner” of the room.
As you are probably aware, there have been several high-profile cases when someone yelled “fire” when there wasn’t an amber flickering. One should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the personal integrity of an individual has to carry some weight. It’s a complicated situation, and one I suspect will become far worse before a shift away from false accusations occurs. Ruined reputations result from a vindictive move or a desire to play the victim. Guilty as accused overrides even the evidence that points to innocence.
In my book, Creating a Climate of Respect and Relationship Building in Today’s Workplace Culture, I wrote this about respect in the workplace:
There are many ways that leaders can demonstrate respect in the workplace. Here are three in my book:
- Offer learning opportunities. Employees want to grow skills and knowledge. Do that, and you not only increase your business, but you get a simultaneous growth of employees as well.
- Keep people informed. The more employees understand the working dynamics of your business, the more valuable they become as a resource for growth.
- Provide resources to help employees perform their job responsibilities. How often do you find this situation existing in your workplace?
I strongly recommend leaders make “respect of others” the mantra of their leadership style. But there is another essential dimension of respect to consider—respect of yourself!
We must have a strong dose of “self-respect” to grow the respect of others. Not talking about conceit, but a healthy belief in self and our abilities. When we have this level of confidence, it becomes easier to venture into new things. We build our courage meter and reduce our fear meter. Here’s a little bit of “homework” for you from this lesson on respect.
How would you rate your level of self-respect? Think with a piece of paper and write your thoughts. Ponder the message over a few days, and you can settle on an accurate picture of who you are. In the race for growth, self-knowledge is the starting line. Respect and growth are now your tickets to more incredible things. Go for it!