Civility and Respect towards Employees

12manage is looking for students. Info

Two Factor Theory
Knowledge Center


Next Topic

Two Factor Theory > Best Practices > Civility and Respect towards Employees

Civility and Respect towards Employees
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Research on Civility by Christine Porath revealed that the 20,000 respondents (employees from all over the world) ranked "respect" as the most important leadership behavior.
However these same 20,000 respondents also report disrespectful and uncivil behavior is increasing each year!
Porath's quite current book in these times of President Trump shows what incivility is costing organizations in an entertaining mix of statistical data and anecdotal evidence about the cost and reward to incivil and civil behavior. While some of the civility strategies discussed in the book could be considered somewhat basic (Say please and thank you, Don't interrupt, Share credit, Ask questions rather than barking orders), a surprising amount of leaders, managers, and organizations don't always practice them 😉.

According to Kristy Rogers, the main reason for this remarkable disconnect” between the importance and current practice of respect is that some managers could be unaware of the difference between "owed respect" and "earned respect":
  • OWED RESPECT is given equally to all members of an organization. It includes civility and a culture that each employee is considered inherently valuable.
    A lack of owed respect is typical for following situations/environments: Taylor-like, micromanagement, uncivil, abuse of power, sense that employees are interchangeable.
  • EARNED RESPECT recognizes specific individuals who are showing valued qualities or behaviors, or are achieving good results. It distinguishes employees who have exceeded expectations and, particularly in knowledge work settings, affirms that each employee has unique strengths and talents.
    A lack of earned respect is signaled by phenomena like: stealing credit for other peoples’ success, failing to recognize (and reward) individual achievements by employees.
Christine Porath, "Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace", 2016, Grand Central Publishing
Kristie Rogers, “Do your Employees Feel Respected? Show Workers that they’re Valued, and your Business will Flourish”, HBR Jul-Aug 2018, pp. 62-71

Respect in Organizations
KOEHL Maryse, Professor, France, Member
Interesting this approach of owed respect and earned respect in managing. Respect is a base of the relational competence theory. Earned respect is in link with consideration, acknowledgment based on the quality of professional competencies.

Owed Respect in Recogntion of Potential
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
If one recognizes the potential of each employee (in terms of inherent capacity to grow etc.), then respect is given naturally.

Don't we Expect This Universally?
Ivan Kohlinsky, Management Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
Isn't it that the respect that we should give and show (and really expect in return) in every aspect of life should be carried over into our working environment/working life?
The problem area nowadays seems not necessarily to be respect for the PERSON, but respect for their VIEWS, and for their right to EXPRESS them, if these don't fit neatly into someone else's 'Weltanschauung', often that of a vocal minority. I hope that I swerved any political insensitivity in this by using the German!

What Causes the Lack of Civility/Respect?
Steven Cooke
As noted in the examples for each type, a general lack of civility and respect in any form is an indication of poor management. Respect is part-and-parcel of an organization's "culture". As also noted, this information is not new - simply ignored by too many.
So, the pertinent question may really be: What is the DRIVER for ignoring a basic enabler of good business?
As with safety, there is usually a short-term perceived benefit for the individuals (and particularly management) who's ignorance or selfishness precludes either a long-term view or a harmonious corporate culture.

Civility and Respect Towards Employees
Graham Williams, Management Consultant, South Africa, Premium Member
A bit of a chicken and egg problem; is civility and respect a manifestation of values or does the practice of civility and respect lead to reinforcement of values and virtues? Is it perhaps a closed loop system?
Either way this discussion cannot ignore the foundational place of character virtues, which lead to practiced behaviours...

Respect in Times of Radical Change
Riphagen, Financial Consultant, Netherlands, Member
What if one wants to increase the performance of a business and if a small or incremental increase in performance is not what the businesses or circumstances need? What if a drastic or radical change is needed?
What I see in times of extreme changes, is that respect then often takes a seat on the backbench.
Trump is viewed incivil by a large amount of people in the world. Trump claimed that the US Government needed a drastic overhaul. Likewise, in business, when a radical overhaul is needed, there are also many situations where respect is nowhere to be seen.
That leaves me with the question if you can also reach the desired result of extreme change in a better way with owed respect and earned respect. Or is lack of respect a necessity in such times?

Owed Respect versus Earned Respect
Emmanuel Rasesia, Teacher, Botswana, Member
Thanks for providing the distinction between the two (owed versus earned respect).
I have always been worried by exclusion of owed respect. Managers and leaders who are punitive in dealing with those they supervise fall in this category. They fail to build relationships with their employees before demanding respect from them.
I believe that all people deserve respect by default. It will be up to them to discredit themselves by showing they are not worthy of it!

Respect Towards Employees is not a Means to an End
Graham Williams, Management Consultant, South Africa, Premium Member
I believe that respect comes from the inside out - and is not a tool to be used to influence performance. The latter may result, but respect is not a means to an end. I like the definition of respect which says that respect is made up of "re" and "spect":
RE = again.
SPECT = look (as in spectacles).
So the leader with a heart to look at each person again and again until she is able to see the wounded inner child and/or divine potential within the other, is what is sorely needed in the world today.
If this is the motive then the owed respect (you owe me) or earned respect (another form of 'you owe me') becomes superfluous...

The Importance of Respect in Organizations and Society
Bernhard Keim, Business Consultant, Germany, Premium Member
If you want to be heard you must pay respect to others. Listening is the hallmark of an OPEN ORGANIZATION OR SOCIETY. Without listening (i.e., paying respect to others) there is no way to develop a common and shared understanding of the things that matter and why they matter.
Respect establishes a common ground for mutual and better understanding. Without it everything becomes much harder to achieve.

The opposite of respect is AUTHORITARIANISM. Here there is only one party to talk and to listen to. The modus operandi is obedience. No one is allowed to challenge the necessarily limited enlightenment of the one at the top of the pyramid. Insight is kept as a privilege for one person. Communication stalls and becomes mere broadcasting.
We all know such kind of systems and they are not very smart. Nevertheless authoritarianism is welcomed by the simpleminded who feel challenged by the intelligence of others. The outcome is never a viable system, but failing organisations that always have to fight for surviving.

Sincerity / Respect is not a Method
Steven Cooke
@Graham Williams: That's a VERY pertinent and important point in many "management" discussions! Respect is NOT a "technique" to enhance performance. It's not something you "do" to act like a better manager or boss. It is part of what YOU ARE - and if you ARE a manager, at any level, then whether you are respectful or not will impact your impact on your team.
I think that the point here (and in other behavioural discussions) is that we need to reflect on how we treat and lead others more than worrying about "applying" some motivational technique or buzzword to get results. As the old saying goes: "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care!

Is Respect Innate or Acquired?
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@Steven Cooke: Thanks for your contribution to this topic. I agree for many people being civil or respectful towards other people comes natural and is part of their identify (RESPECT IS WHAT YOU ARE are as you say) or values (BEING RESPECTFUL IS MORALLY RIGHT) and could perhaps be considered INBORN or more likely something they LEARNED AT YOUNG AGE from their parents.
But people also do exist for which respectful behavior does not come as an obvious, natural behavior. For such people and for those who are interested in understanding more about the nature of civility / respect it could be useful to analyze these behaviors and consider what effects various forms of them have on people, organizations and society as a whole: WHY RESPECT WORKS.

Acquiring Respectability
Steven Cooke
@Jaap de Jonge: I agree that some people are unfortunately deficient in "respect" characteristics. If becoming a better manager of people is a motivation for people to learn how to exhibit and deserve respect better, that's great.
My point is that unless they really look to acquire respectful traits as part of personal growth, trying to "act respectful" simply for business enhancement is most likely going to fail. It must become an innate part of one's character rather than just some "business strategy" to really be effective.

Recognition Shows Respect
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
How do we show respect towards and employee?
Through recognition. Recognition is based on consideration and caring and shown through communication:
  • Courteous greeting and acknowledgement: “please”, “thank you”, “good job”.
  • Not jumping to criticise incompetence but expressing “concern” that something isn't to standard, asking why? Expressing the cost of the shortfall as a training cost and from this learning proceed to how will they ensure it doesn't happen again?
  • Listening and responding with your likes about an ‘idea’ and expressing ‘concern’ about a weakness in terms of ‘How to… overcome / enable / achieve / get people on-board?” Leaving the individual to identify and solve how to gain a change; demonstrating that you will listen when they return – eventually with a proposal that cannot be refused.
  • Inviting people in to express their likes and concerns about your ideas with the freedom to “Tell me how you think this … needs changing in order to be successful?

New Operating Norm
Bill Boynton, Teacher, United States, Member
I believe the value of respect is a critical component for self-realization, of becoming all that one envisions for themselves, self-respect.
However, we are creating a society and a business community that operates under the assumption and premise that "Anything we want to do, and can get away with" is acceptable behavior.
This premise is relative to many organizations and institutions as well as fast becoming a personal attribute.

Respect is Earned not Owed
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
Replace “respect” with “civility”; the messages are the same.
No-one is “owed” respect; it is not a right to be demanded. Of its nature, it is earned.
Owed civility; courtesy, consideration? Yes, as the requisites for harmonious i.e. civilised, relationships.
Civilised behaviour (in home, social or work domains) reinforces civilised behaviour. Some people are uncivilised in their behaviour yet ‘win’, in terms of high earnings and titles. Because the ‘norms’ of our societies “respect” such winners; because the bulk of humanity want such rewards; the behaviour is maintained.
Some declare that, of its nature, an ‘office’ (e.g. a presidency, a management appointment) deserves respect. I would argue that respect derives from behaviour, not titles. Respect is earned by the holder of the office, from the manner in which they use the authority it bestows upon them. A need to demand it would seem to be proof of its need to be earned. Is there ‘respect’ for the ‘Presidency’ of a dictator?

Civilization and Honor
Steven Cooke
@Maurice Hogarth: I agree that there is a necessary but subtle distinction between attitudes that are 'required' for civilization to exist (diplomacy) and those that can only really be EARNED by behavior, despite any titles. I think the confusion is intentionally propagated by those who obtain a position requiring some recognition civilly without the record supporting earned respect. Once we (erroneously) say that "Respect = Civility" both words really lose any value.

Civility and Respect Towards Employees
Graham Williams, Management Consultant, South Africa, Premium Member
Here's an article I've written quite recently and I believe it is relevant to this discussion: Show Some Respect.

Respect Dissed
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
@Steven Cooke: Yes. It seems also to be demonstrated by gang leaders who demand "respect" and punish/go to 'war' if they consider themselves "dissed". When what they are actually demanding is submission / recognition of their power and control. And, although it is highly unlikely of course 😜, this could be the case with some managers, especially if they are command and control orientated.

Special Interest Group Leader

Interested? Sign up for free.

Two Factor Theory
Best Practices

Two Factor Theory
Knowledge Center


Next Topic

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2019 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.1 - Last updated: 22-9-2019. All names ™ of their owners.