An inconvenient truth: Respect me

I recently read these insightful comments from John Spence:

More and more high potentials are telling me that they want to be “treated with respect” by their leader.

Now, when I entered the workforce 20 years ago it seemed to me that most of the respect flowed from the employee to the leader, showing respect for their position, experience and authority.  Yet what I am hearing from these key employees, most between the ages of 30 and 40, is that they absolutely demand to be treated with respect, have their opinions listened to, and stand as a peer with their leaders.

An Inconvenient Truth: People declaring they want respect, likely indicates they don’t feel respected.

John’s comments include two suggestions for treating employees with respect.

  1. Listening to opinions
  2. Standing as a peer

Three don’ts of respect

  1. Don’t hoard opportunities. Have you seen leaders grabbing the glory from high profile, high potential opportunities and throwing crumbs to others? I have. It’s disrespectful, selfish, sad and demoralizing to “the troops.”
  2. Don’t shield people from the truth. Shielding says you’re too weak or too dumb to handle the truth. Shielding is a form of rejection. We shield young children. The, “You can’t handle the truth,” approach is arrogant.
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    I’m not suggesting that CEO’s go on TV to air dirty laundry and in so doing, undermine stock prices, diminish customer confidence, or in other ways decrease profits. I am suggesting that showing respect to employees means being forthright in ways that respect all stakeholders.
  3. Don’t help. Helping may be a form of rejection that says, you aren’t capable. When someone begins showing frustration, begin exploring ways to help. Before that, let them work things out themselves. It shows respect.

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What other ways can leaders show respect to employees?

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The entire article where John speaks of respect: “All I want is a lot of respect.”