This is the second post in a series called “Respect, Interpreted.” Respect, Interpreted Part 1 described respect as a “structural beam” in organizations that holds the culture together. This week we’ll look at how to take two very different kinds of leadership actions that are both required for building and maintaining a culture of respect.
- Requiring respectful behavior (putting in expectations and support) AND
- Eliminating negative behavior (stopping disrespectful behavior quickly)
One or the other of these approaches will not likely be successful on its own.
Requiring Respectful Behavior:
If you eliminate disrespectful behaviors without communicating the respectful behaviors that are expected, people don’t know when they’re going outside of behavioral expectations until they make a mistake. This approach leaves too much to chance and can impact employee engagement and stress.
Stopping Disrespectful Behavior
Communicating that respect is a value is a great start but it’s not enough. Many negative behaviors can spin off from unchecked disrespect and they tend to grow. If we say nothing and allow any disrespectful actions, then don’t we appear to be authorizing a suite of other disrespectful interpersonal ills including judging, blaming, name-calling and excluding? If you say you require respectful behavior, but allow any disrespectful behaviors to go unchecked, you aren’t really requiring respectful behavior, are you?
Take a moment to evaluate the “respect structure” in your organization. How well are you requiring respectful behavior AND eliminating disrespectful behavior? Both are required for building a culture of respect.
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