Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Respect Another

I have a business theorem that "the one who makes the rules is the first to break the rules." It goes along with "don't do as I do, do as I say."

Too many times, I have seen new policies created--whether it's related to travel expenses ("no first class air travel allowed") or sharing of confidential information ("don't tell anyone outside the company")--which are quickly violated by the people who wanted them enforced. One time, I learned from a supplier confidential information that was shared with that person by someone in headquarters (a VP who should know better) before we heard the information internally. We in management often think that because we "own" the policy we're free to do with it what we want. "Yes, I don't want everyone to fly first class, but it's okay for just this one time, for me, because it's important that I get off the plane fast (or whatever other excuse seems reasonable)."

If we want respect, we have to respect others. And that means behaving as if they're just as valuable as the next person, and deserving of honesty. Why are we putting this policy in place, and does it apply to everyone or not? It also means that we behave as we want them to behave.

If we show up for meetings late, it must mean that it's okay for them to show up late. If not, then we need to be on-time. Their time is valuable and it hurts the company to waste it. Right, it hurts the company when their time is wasted? Therefore, don't waste their time by making them wait till you arrive...or until you get off the phone. Be courteous.

Also, if a person has a legitimate question, answer it and share the information that they need in order to be more effective. It's a sign of respect. It's a lack of respect to say, "You don't need to know" or "Just because" (like our parents, or we as parents, sometimes do with kids--get that, kids). If you want answers to questions, then you should answer questions too.

Today, respond to questions with as complete an answer as you can give, without violating any confidential information. Help a person on your staff to get better by having more information. And while you're at it, show up for all your meetings on time, or reschedule them with enough advance notice so others don't waste their time.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, the example we were given in scriptures is that all people are valuable. Jesus was most strongly criticized for respecting others that most of society didn't deem worthy of respect: the avowed sinners, drunkards, gluttons, lepers, outcasts, etc. He treated the last, least and lost with as much, maybe more, respect as the leaders of the society.

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