“I’ve learned thatwill forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou
Angelou eloquently conveys through this message that humans may forget details of certain events, but they rarely, if ever, forget how they felt at a certain period. Whether they were over the moon with happiness or completely crushed and feeling worthless, we remember feelings above all else, and we remember them for a long, long time.
I immediately thought of this quote while reading a recent piece on respect in the work place. The Inc. article, One Thing Employees Need (But Rarely Get) by Jeff Haden, discusses how respect is more important than other benefits you could offer your .
Why Respect in the Work Place Matters Above All Else
You can’t buy respect, but it is probably the nicest gift you can provide your staff, especially if you can’t afford to give them extra vacation time or retirement benefits. Respect in the work place indicates that you trust your team, think highly of them, and believe in them.
We’ve all had bosses or co-workers that haven’t shown us respect. Since respect in the work place is so hard to find, many will stay with a company if they feel they are respected and appreciated even though their salaries may not be as high as they would like.
Even if you don’t feel morally obligated to show respect in the work place to your employees, you should consider how it positively affects productivity and your business’ bottom line.
Respect in the work place can:
- Improve the staff’s self-esteem, making them feel like they can achieve more than they thought.
- Improve morale.
- Motivate the workforce to meet and surpass your expectations.
- Empower employees to own problems and find solutions.
Let’s also think about what happens if you choose to disrespect your staff. If you don’t show respect in the work place, then what reason do they have to try to impress you? You’ve already indicated that you think you’re superior with disrespectful actions, so why would one accomplishment by your staff change that?
You’re also in danger of losing authority if your employees feel you’re disrespectful towards them. They will likely not respect you in return and be slow to respond to any requests or orders to complete tasks.
What Not To Do
We’ve all been disrespectful of colleagues. Sometimes some of the actions come so naturally that we don’t even realize what we’re doing and how our actions make the other person feel.
Here are things to avoid:
- Raising your voice
- Exchanging knowing glances with co-workers
- Making someone the butt of a joke
- Being dismissive of someone’s questions, ideas, phone calls, or emails
- Giving someone or something else (i.e. phone or email) your attention when someone is trying to talk to you
- Gossiping about co-workers and their weaknesses
What You Can Do
How can you make sure that your staff knows that you value them? Here are a few things.
- Say “thank you”
- Praise employees for their hard work in front of their peers
- Reward your staff for their effort and work
- Ask for their input on key decisions
The last one cannot be underrated. Sometimes people just want to be heard. Listening is a great way to not only boost morale but it can also expose you to new perspectives or office dynamics that you were not aware of.
Don’t forget Maya Angelou’s words of wisdom. Print the quote out and put it by your desk if it helps. Respect in the work place can carry you far, and in most cases you’ll get it in return.
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