Giving Respect to the Core Value of Respect

6 Aug

In many organizations, it is not uncommon to see respect as part of the company’s core values. If it is not formally stated, frequently we hear the leadership within companies talking about how important it is to demonstrate respect. However, understanding and demonstrating respect is oftentimes lacking.

Take, for example, employees, and it doesn’t matter what level, who fail to return phone calls or respond to emails in a timely fashion. Why those emails are not being responded to is puzzling because when in meetings, rather than demonstrating respect for others who are speaking, it seems to be commonplace for employees to be multitasking on their Blackberries or other cell phones.

When vendors or co-workers call one another, the “respectful” thing to do is to return the phone call. It is interesting how not returning phone calls seems to be more commonplace than returning them.

What’s baffling is that no one says anything and these behaviors just continue. Where is the leadership in organizations and teams? I’ve yet to see the organizational leadership link returning phone calls, whether to customers, vendors, or other employees, to showing respect for one another. Yet this is one of the most obvious and simple ways that employees can demonstrate respect on a daily basis.

Perhaps this lack of response is because people do not feel the need to return phone calls because they do not have the information that has been requested of them. Their thinking might be: “Once I have the information, I’ll get back to the person. Since I don’t have it now, I won’t waste my time or theirs.” Then again, perhaps the lack of response is related to people feeling overwhelmed. For some people, when reaching their own individual tipping point, everything else shuts down except for what they are working on.

Another explanation is that people are not returning phone calls as a signal that they do not want to speak with the person. They feel that if they ignore the calls or the email messages long enough, people will quit trying to contact them. All of these reasons, whether justifiable in a person’s mind or not, fly in the face of the need to demonstrate respect for one another.

In today’s times, employees at all levels need to pay attention to their organizational persona, or how others view them in the organization. Not returning phone calls or emails is one way to tarnish their organizational persona. In today’s times, how others perceive you is directly linked to whether or not you are the go-to person in an organization or whether you are just there to get work done and collect a pay check.

So when it comes to thinking about your organizational persona, are you doing what you can to demonstrate respect?


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