Awesome leaders have tremendously influenced me throughout my life. The leaders who impressed and impacted me the most are those who demonstrated qualities most people look for in their leaders:
There are numerous qualities to add to that list. But, one more that was critical to me was they also cared about me and other people they were responsible for. Research is now showing that any leader who wants to maximize his or her effectiveness would do well to truly care about their people. It doesn’t necessarily mean being a soft, mushy pushover. Show you care by demonstrating transparency, authenticity, kindness, and genuine concern for the welfare of the people you lead. Showing the people we lead respect and dignity is the flavor of the month. It makes a leader more likeable and effective because people want to work in positive and respective environments.
Why, specifically, does it matter how we treat people? Think TAP’D. Let me offer four good reasons to treat your people right:
1. Garner Trust
A leader’s most precious commodity is trust. Stephen Covey once said, “Research shows that only 49% of employees trust senior management, and only 28% believe CEOs are a credible source of information.” If you want to generate trust amongst the people you lead, show them respect at all times.
2. Avoid Lawsuits
Have you heard the story about the 66 year-old man who was awarded $26 million in an age discrimination lawsuit by Staples? He was harassed with inappropriate jokes prior to wrongful termination. Staples’ payout probably could have been easily avoided by treating their employee right.
3. Improve Performance
Research shows people who are treated well are more likely to work well with others on their team. Project managers tend to get much better performance from their team when they treat team members right. If you want your team’s productivity to soar to new levels, look first at how they are currently being treated.
4. Leverage Diversity
Today’s workplace is more diverse than ever before. We now see more teams and organizations with persons of various cultures, generations, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs to name a few. Smart leaders are learning how to leverage these differences to their organization’s advantage. Making your team a melting pot will work better for you than a time bomb waiting to explode.
How we treat the people we lead really matters. Here are a few steps that can help avoid relational mishaps in the workplace.
1. Be curious
Curiosity that drives you to get to know others can prove helpful. It can prevent stereotyping people as if you have them all figured out and saying or doing something offensive. Get to know individuals for who they really are and treat them with respect.
2. Get a coach
Coaches can help you with you. Get a coach who can help you discover what you already possess that empowers you to master workplace relationships.
3. Sensitivity training won’t hurt
Workplace etiquette is evolving. Rules and laws are constantly changing. Don’t let the world pass you or others in your organization by. Learning the hard way that you’ve committed a sensitivity violation can prove costly.
4. Be humble
Don’t let your accomplishments or authority go to your head. If you humbly handle authority you can still get things done.
5. Apply the Golden Rule
The Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”