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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Feeling Respected At Work

Stan Slap is one of my favorite authors (not to mention a really great guy!)

He was looking for stories about different work scenarios, situations, environments, etc...and if you submitted a 200+ word story, you could win an autographed copy of his book, etc...

There were several different categories you could choose to write about and the category I chose was about a time you were either respected or disrespected at work. Here is the story I shared:

Feeling respected by your co-workers is important, feeling respected by your boss is critical to your success and longevity with a company. I was fortunate enough to spend a decade of my professional career working for a company that really "got" the importance of respect. Their Mission statement included a statement about helping employees learn and grow so they would be successful and respected. The owner of the company introduced his staff (at all levels) as teammates. A stranger would never have known that he was the owner and the rest of us were beneath him on the corporate hierarchical ladder. My favorite example was a time when the owner I've described above, was on his way home from work and he passed a lemonade stand. He knew the lemonade stand was in front of one of his employee's homes and that her eight year old daughter was expressing her entrepreneurial tendencies. He pulled over, purchased a cup of lemonade for himself and his two daughters. While he was paying, he asked the young girl if her mother was Angela who worked at Americollect. The girl said yes, that's my mommy - to which he gracefully responded: oh, I work with her, she's a nice lady and you're lucky to have such a good mommy. The young girl thanked him and he drove off. Now that's a classy man!

If your company believes in a team concept and your managers do not rule by fear, you need to have mutual respect at all levels. That really comes from the top and trickles down. You cannot tell teammates to respect one another, openly accept feedback, and help one another grow and then walk around the office like (pardon my French) your crap doesn’t stink! The company I worked for encouraged even the newest employee to give feedback to anyone within the organization – including the owner. Training sessions were provided to instruct the team how to give feedback – and to make sure that it was well intended (otherwise it’s not feedback, it’s just bad manners).

I am now starting a company of my own and I feel truly fortunate to have had the experience I did. It makes me a better person, and when I’m ready for staff of my own, I am confident that I will be an amazing leader…and if I’m half the leader my previous boss was, I’ll consider myself a success!

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