Show Some Respect may be the title to a 1984 Tina Turner song, but it’s also sound advice for today’s business leaders.
According to the findings of a recent study conducted by the Harvard Business Review together with business guru Tony Schwartz, respect is the most important behavior a leader can demonstrate to engage employees. In fact, respect topped recognition and appreciation; communicating an inspiring vision; providing useful feedback; and opportunities for learning, growth and development. When leaders showed respect, the study found that employees were 55 percent more engaged in their work. However, less engagement and productivity as well as greater turnover and health care costs were prevalent among the 54 percent of employees who did not regularly get respect from their leaders.
Treating employees with deference gives business leaders an opportunity to create a culture of respect that can extend to customers too. That’s exactly what the leaders at ExecuNet, a private career network for senior level executives, are doing to set the tone for their company. ExecuNet views each employee as a corporate asset and fosters a respectful environment by building personal connections. The company encourages employees to share non-work-related stories at monthly staff meetings, uses a team approach to interview job candidates, and breaks down barriers for new hires (regardless of rank) by arranging social lunches with each department team. In addition, all offices at ExecuNet are roughly the same size and senior leaders take turns parking their cars in the most distant part of the parking lot. “If the top leaders don’t consistently show respect for the people they work with and treat people fairly and well, they won’t elicit the commitment and collaboration they expect or want,” said Tony Vlahos, chief marketing officer at ExecuNet.
What are you doing to show your respect for your company’s greatest assets? Leave a comment to let us know.