Treat People With Respect

Often on Fridays, I write about leadership. An incident occurred this week that jogged my thinking into leadership mode. Treating people with respect.

I have been “fired” many times. In the 1980s it averaged every two years. OK, obviously it wasn’t because I was reliving my old civil-rights-protester-rebellious phase. Usually, the company was going out of business. Once a boss and I tangled. I lost. He lost. (They fired him shortly after, but I was already gone and never returning.)

Almost all were handled with some measure of tact. There were a  couple where the president of the company went back on promises. But I had already taken the long view that the company was failing and that I already knew the president was a jerk. Although once I was fired by voice mail. That was interesting.

A friend went to work recently. Opened email. Message from the president (pretty much a jerk), “Clean out your personal possessions and leave the premises. You are fired.”

It’s a people business. It’s not that big of a business. How can someone run that sort of business with that sort of attitude?

But I’ve seen it often. Schools and churches have some of the worst supervisors I’ve ever seen. People can be mistreated in those organizations and the ones in charge seem to take a perverse delight in mistreating people. Smaller businesses come next. But I’ve seen real, er, jerks, in corporate America, too.

If you are in any kind of leadership whether in business, non-profit or church, remember that you are dealing with fellow human beings. Everyone deserves to be treated with a measure of respect.

Heck, surveys of people constantly return with the feedback that people prefer to feel respected and appreciated beyond the amount of money they receive. A bonus is nice and appreciated, but a compliment and fair treatment is remembered forever.

As a manager or supervisor of any organization, remember that we are taught to love our neighbor as ourselves.

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