Respect is a Two Way Street

Many people think that respect is something that is just given; I personally believe respect is something that must be earned.  And in order to earn respect you must give respect.  As a leader you need the respect of your colleagues in order to be successful.  Yet you must understand that people are individuals and want to feel as you respect them both in a personal and professional way.

A company I worked for was full of managers that did not respect their employees and this was made very apparent time and time again.  The ultimate result was the employees did not respect their leaders which led to bad word of mouth, low morale, low productivity and disrespect from employees.  I remember one incident, keep in mind this was about four years again and it sticks with me.  I had just found out my grandfather had cancer and my entire family was coming to Northern California to go to his first chemo appointment in Grass Valley.  I asked my manager if I could switch my hours that day, come in an hour early to get an hour early so I could join my family.  My manager told me no because it was not a valid reason.  I explained my situation to him and he said, “It doesn’t matter everyone is going to die at some point, so there’s no point to be upset or sad or miss work over it.”

Right then and there I had never felt so disrespected in my life.  From that day one I lost all respect for my manager and my desire to be a good employee for the company decreased, I made sure I was only doing my minimum work instead of being the over achiever I was before.  Within a few months I ended up leaving the company because of that situation gave me such a bad taste about them. 

Once you have disrespected someone it is hard to rebuild a healthy relationship.  As a leader you want to ensure you have healthy relationships with those around you.  Therefore when climbing the leadership ladder it is important to remember respect is always a two way street, you must give to get.

What do you think?  Should respect be just given or earned?  Let me know!

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