One of the things that most Barbadians have been thought by their grandparents or elders, is that “respect is due to a dog”. It does not take a university graduate to work out or understand what this means. We have also been thought to “treat others the same way you would want to be treated”.
Putting this all together, it suggests that we ought to practice what we preach. Whereas all of this is true, it is reasonable to expect that as human beings, the possibility exists that individuals are likely to fall short of what is expected in exhibiting good behavioural traits.
In the workplace, one of the basic forms of disrespect shown is when employers and employees failed to be courteous one to another. This is also true in the case of co-workers, who are also guilty of not being courteous to each other. Not listening to the views and opinions of others, and resorting to dismissing any contributions without given the least consideration, particularly when these have been solicited, is nothing short of gross disrespect.
Employers, management personnel and even some leaders of organisations are guilty of this. Sad to say, those who behave like this, apparently have a deficiency of some sort. Such persons tend to be possessed with authority, and so may resort to looking down on others. It must be said that these are poor leaders or managers.
Both in the workplace and within organisations, many make the cardinal mistake of misleading those who head their organisations into believing that they are indispensable. This often contributes to the swelling of one’s ego; which sometimes drives an individual to move away from a democratic to an autocratic style of leadership.
Albert Einstein is credited for the comment that “Everyone should be respected as a leader but not idolised”. In the workplace, within any organisation and/or politics, to do otherwise would be a colossal error of judgment. When people follow a leader or manager both slavishly or blindly, then it suggest that such persons have lost their objectivity and sense of reasoning.
Whereas the demonstration of loyalty is to be applauded, there is certainly no excuse for violating the principles of fairness, justice, truth and honesty.
As an employer, manager, employee or leader, you as an individual stand to lose the respect of others when your character, integrity, professionalism, trustworthiness and honesty comes under the microscope. It does not help when the things that an individual speaks of others are nothing short of uncomplimentary, degrading, insulting, humiliating and most of all untrue.
There is an old Barbadian saying that what comes out of your “red rag” (meaning the tongue and mouth) is said and cannot be taken back. What is often most damaging is not what has been said but what has is inferred.
In the workplace, this is often the catalyst for poor workplace relationships. Whether you are an employer, manager, employee or leader, it is advisable that you reflect on the advice given by Stockwell Day.
“As all human beings are in my view, creatures of God’s design, we must respect all other human beings. That does not mean that I have to agree with their choices or agree with their opinions, but indeed I respect them as human beings.”
Teachers in our schools and across the education landscape would be failing our children/students, who will be the workers, employers, managers and leaders of tomorrow, if they did not teach them that they must first respect themselves, if they in turn are to get others to respect them.
* Dennis De Peiza is a Labour Management Consultant with Regional Management Services Inc.
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