What Drives Your Workplace? The Secret Value of Respect

Not getting the results in your business that you expect? Find your staff is not responding the way you want for them to be effective and drive greater profitability? Could the problem be you and your supervisors? Could a few tweaks make all the difference?


Unless you are a one-man-band, your business is operated by people who, from time to time, need to work together. If their cooperative behaviors are good then they are more likely to be effective and you will more likely get the results you want.




That means respect for one another and respect from their leaders.


Management behavior lays a foundation for the level of workplace respect, that drives workplace cooperation, that in turn drives workplace effectiveness.


Positive Management Behaviours.


These  consist of two conflicting elements:


  • Positive qualities and behaviors, and
  • Behavior detractors.


There are 12 positive qualities for a supervisor:


  1. Appears self-confident.
  2. Remains confident despite setbacks.
  3. Talks optimistically about the future.
  4. Conveys a strong commitment to goals.
  5. Communicates an inspiring vision for change.
  6. Presents convincingly to the group.
  7. Values new ideas.
  8. Values other’s views.
  9. Appreciates differences among people.
  10. Takes action to solve problems and conflict.
  11. Communicates expectations.
  12. Is confident.


Management Detractors


There are 6 detractors:


  1. Loses his/her temper under pressure.
  2. Makes some people look good at others’ expense.
  3. Discourages my bringing up problems.
  4. Favours an in-group of subordinates.
  5. Waits until a problem escalates before acting.
  6. Makes subordinate feel stupid when he/her disagrees with him/her.


What is critical to realize is that a supervisor who displays just one or two of these Detractors has sharply reduced ability to generate workplace respect. Inevitably, workplace effectiveness suffers.


Workplace Measures


Apart from management behaviors, the model has 6 workplace respect measures,


9 workplace cooperation measures, and 7 workplace effectiveness measures. But they are all driven by the foundation laid by management behaviors.


Workplace respect measures:


  1. People who seek better methods are respected and rewarded
  2. Interpersonal conflicts are addressed and resolved in the workgroup.
  3. People can criticize the way the workgroup functions without penalty.
  4. People recognize and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
  5. People can share work problems without concern about appearing stupid.
  6. Co-workers experience a climate of mutual respect.


How well does this effectiveness model work?


This behavior model was developed by the University of California Irvine during the 1980/90s and won the USA Today 1998 Quality Cup Award.


I applied this model while working as a change management advisor to PNG Department of Community Development. Here was a group of highly educated people – most have Masters or Bachelor degrees. But there was still scenes like a lower level supervisor throwing a computer monitor through the window in a rage. It was also a strongly patriarchal society that was at odds with a community development organization largely staffed by women.


With the approval of the Department Secretary (a program like this MUST be visibly supported from the top). We trained all the staff on the sustainable performance improvement concept with talks and posters and then ran a survey. Where everyone had the opportunity to assess the measures for their own workgroup and also their department.  There were four possible responses to each of the measures: strongly agree, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, strongly disagree. The surveys were, of course, confidential and externally tabulated. Only aggregated data were provided in the report.


And you might say both the survey and the results combined with a sobering experience for everyone involved. But now there was a basis for guidance and counseling on what really mattered in management and workplace behaviors, a sustainable and measurable program (repeated every six months to start) that could be applied for achieving superior business outcomes.


Can Management Behaviours be Learned?


  • Management behaviors that enable team performance are learned
  • Most managers improve significantly when provided with data indicating how their supervisory behavior is experienced:
    • by their employees,
    • compared to other supervisors’ ratings, and
    • in relation to goals for each measured behavior.


Workplace Bullying and Harassment


Bullying in the workplace will have a severe impact on overall performance because it’s an obvious example of lack of respect. Not only managers and supervisors bully, of course.  Your role as an owner/manager is to identify and weed out any form of bullying.


Bullying behavior is about control by someone who is actually insecure, and can include:


  • Shouting, whether in private, in front of colleagues, or in front of customers
  • Name-calling
  • Belittling or disrespectful comments
  • Excessive monitoring, criticizing, or nitpicking someone’s work
  • Deliberately overloading someone with work
  • Undermining someone’s work by setting them up to fail
  • Purposefully withholding information needed to perform a job efficiently
  • Actively excluding someone from normal workplace/staff room conversations and making someone feel unwelcome


An internet article at WikiHow (http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-with-Workplace-Bullying-and-Harassment) can give you a brief for advising your staff about what to do with bullies, especially in terms of gathering evidence to take proper action.


First Things First


Your staff is potentially your greatest asset in helping deliver value and drive profits. Innovation, simplification, and continuous improvement need from your staff –  first and foremost – improved collaboration, information sharing, teamwork, and willingness to assume and share responsibility for problems.  These workgroup behaviors depend on management and leadership behaviors that foster the pivotal, critical-path factor: workplace respect.


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