September 21, 2018
Written by: Scott Williamson
Last week I wrote about four things bosses get wrong. As I was contemplating all the things we read and teach about leadership and managing people, I noticed that we don’t really talk about respect. And why is that? Do we assume that respect comes because of the position? I do think it is true to a point, that people respect a business owner for their accomplishments. So as a new hire, there is a certain level of respect that is given.
But what happens over time? True leaders will demonstrate that the employee’s respect is deserved. Others will lose the respect of their staff. We measure this in part, through employee engagement. There is much more to employee engagement than respect for the boss, but a lack of respect will erode employee engagement and can lead to disdain or even contempt for the boss. A manifestation of the loss of respect could be employee turnover, unresponsiveness, lack of follow through, and showing up late to work or meetings.
The opposite of respect, obviously, is disrespect. But it is not a switch. There is a continuum that we often don’t think about. Just because there is no disrespect (staff are not rude, insulting and devaluing you), it does not mean they respect you. Respect is active. We show respect, we speak with respect, we act respectfully. And most importantly, respect is a two-way street.
We talk about people being our most important asset, and we know that our customer satisfaction will never exceed our employee’s satisfaction, BUT do we really understand what this looks like day to day in our offices? Do you solicit feedback? Are employee satisfaction and engagement surveys a part of your routine assessments?
Gut Check: take a serious look in the mirror and figure out if your staff respect you, harbor discontent, or neither. You will probably have to talk to a very good friend who is not afraid to tell you the truth.
Respect is not a checklist, but there are things you can do to help the situation. Be forewarned, insincerity will turn ambivalence into active disrespect! At its core, respect is a continuous process of paying attention to people. Here are six ways to swing the pendulum of respect in your favor –
- Talk the talk and walk the walk. If you expect responsiveness and timeliness, you need to emulate that as the leader.
- Don’t let ideas fall on deaf ears. Acknowledging employee ideas, even if you decide not to act on them, should be top priority for a good boss.
- Build relationships! Get to know the people in your office. What are the names of their spouses and kids? What’s something they really like to do? Talk to them.
- Avoid being a jack of all trades. You hired your staff for a reason. Empower them and allow them to do their jobs.
- Show appreciation. Recognize and show gratitude for the efforts and contributions of your team.
- Ensure transparency and communication at all levels! Openly communicate information so everyone is informed and able to operate cohesively.
People feel respected when they have been heard and understood. Being genuinely interested in and open to others builds trust and strengthens relationships. We focus so much on the tangible aspects of our business that these things easily get overlooked. Take the time to ensure respect in your office is a two-way street. Your employees and your bottom line will thank you!
Scott Williamson, MBA, CAE(ret), is the Executive Director of the OPIE Choice Network. He founded and is President of Quality Outcomes, LLC., a company dedicated to establishing a consensus building approach to identify broad-based Orthotic and Prosthetic (O&P) outcomes data to identify and teach professional best practices. Scott was recently certified in Lean Six Sigma.
Scott is a member of the National Quality Forum and is active on the Quality Measures Research Council. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Learning, he is a member of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and is past-chair of the Healthcare Knowledge Taskforce for ASAE. He is the President of OPAF and is Treasurer of the Pedorthic Research Foundation Board of Directors. He has worked in professional certification since 1992, and most recently worked for the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc. (ABC) from 2002 – 2010 as the Director of Facility Accreditation. In that position he played a key role in establishing and maintaining the national standards for quality O&P care. Scott has been a key liaison between the O&P profession and CMS during the development of the CMS Quality Standards and their mandatory accreditation program. In 1995, Scott earned his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Richmond and his undergraduate degree is in Management Economics from Hampden~Sydney College. While earning his MBA, Scott worked for MWH MediCorp (a hospital holding company) where he developed and maintained billing and performance data and was responsible for corporate safety and security. In 2005 Scott earned his Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Scott is a frequent speaker on value-based healthcare and its impact on the provision of O&P services, as well as business process improvement and change management in a small practice setting. He has taught DMEPOS accreditation processes and standards and explained the CMS Quality Standards. Scott, his wife, Colleen and daughter Nicole live in Fredericksburg, Virginia.