10.06 20170

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It’s the golden anniversary of Aretha Franklin’s gold single — RESPECT. The queen of soul powerfully demanded … R-E-S-P-E-C-T — find out what it means to me. The song found meaning for those needing empowerment in not only personal relationships but also in political movements. Fifty years later, what does respect mean in today’s workplace?

Respect is a frequently stated workplace value. It is many times lauded in corporate visions and mission statements, but do we truly live up to our stated values? I had a couple of conversations recently about respect that got me thinking. Some people overlook respect issues in a work environment due to fear of losing their livelihood, but I feel strongly that if respect issues on teams are not timely addressed, then there is a risk of total deterioration of the productivity of the team. I believe respect is essential to success for all parties involved in a situation. If you do not receive respect, then your ability to respect yourself suffers. If you do not respect yourself, then your ability to respect others suffers. Tolerating a disrespectful situation creates a vicious circular cycle of lies, fear and anger.

Bill Bradley stated, “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.”

What does this mean …

Fair Treatment – treat others courteously with empathy and the golden rule in mind no matter if they are customers, vendors, or employees.

Honest Disagreement – promote transparency by eliminating the fear of opposing others views; however, remember that you are disagreeing with the ideas, not the person.

Enjoyment of Friendship – foster trusting work relationships. A large part of life is spent with those with whom we work. To have a good life, we must foster the relationships with the people in it.

Candid Exploration of Thoughts – be open to discussions of ideas that are very different than the current situation. Innovation can only come when we break free of what it is that we are doing today. If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we are getting.

Work Towards a Common Goal – make honest promises. Have a vision to strive for and be honest about where you are as a group in achieving it.

Helping One Another – a greater height and an enhanced range of vision are achieved by lifting others up to stand on our shoulders.

As an agile coach, I work with teams promoting the agile values — Individuals and Interactions, Customer Focus, Working Product, Openness to Change. In order to build high performing teams, we promote the pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation. There are no limits to what can be accomplished by a focused group of like-minded people situated in a friendly, fair, respectful environment — unafraid to disagree, explore new ideas and help one another.

Annie Gottlieb stated, “Respect… is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.” In order to truly appreciate others’ uniqueness, first seek understanding and then to be understood. In your environment… Stop, Look and Listen. Each person you encounter comes to the situation with their own set of unique individual capabilities. The best and most creative solutions will harness the capabilities of the individuals of a group to create positive interactions that allow for the creation of new experiences for the whole. Integrate the strengths of the group to benefit the whole by respecting unique individual contributions.

John W. Gardner said, “If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them become better than they are.” In agile coaching our goal is always continuous improvement… to become better than we are today. However, don’t just focus on changing what you think is wrong… focus on making the most of what is right. In order to advance any cause, we must first inventory our team for their strengths, respect their capabilities and use those capabilities as a launching place to create a better situation by growing together from a position of strength.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T… this is what respect means to me.

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