From the Blog

Leaders Need to Generate Respect


When you cut away the excess, the ability of people to effectively work with others seems to be the bottom line, If you add process skills on top of getting along, people should always execute to customer's delight. If this is so, then why is there such misalignments in companies?

My experience: It's an unnatural relationship to expect humans to interact in such harmony for long periods of time. Basic human genetics and hereditary traits ultimately emerge.

Observations: Running a business is a business and we know certain things. Engaged people perform better at delivering customer delight than those that don't.  Better managers and leaders, with skills to do their job well and skills to get respect from subordinates, will lead better than those that don't. Thus, insisting that managers/leaders behave in a manner to drive respect, as a condition of employment, best served as it engages the workforce. There are hundreds of traits that authors have extolled as being the right way for leaders and managers to act and behave. Like silly putty, these behaviors, overtime, return to their original shape. Just behaving a way that generates respect is a powerful common denominator.

In all of our surveys, we ask the question: "I totally respect my immediate manager". The results have stunned me. After 25 years of practice, I saw over and over that all survey scores in all areas of the company are drastically lower when the response to this question is a "no", mediocre with a "maybe" and the strongest with a "yes".

My solution: Leaders and managers need to behave in a away that generates respect. Workers need to behave in ways that always focuses on the deliver of customer delight. These are two expectations that are easy to describe and easy to become the common denominator baseline.

Finally, have an ongoing information system that will immediately tell you when the respect relationships break down, why it is broken, where it is broken and then how to fix them. It is the fixing part that is the most difficult as it impacts not only culture, but processes, customers, people and even strategy.

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