In the words of Aretha, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”

Aretha Franklin and I both agree on one thing, and that is the number one rule of the house—Respect. Respect is a must-have at InfoMart.

One of the privileges and pleasures of owning your own business is setting the rules by which your organization will fail or succeed. I hold respect in the highest regard and at InfoMart we expect every employee, from the top of the corporate ladder to a new hire, to have respect for one another.

I expect employees to not only have a general respect for one another but also to respect that everyone in the organization has a job that is of value to Infomart’s collective success.

If you ask most leaders what makes a business successful, you may hear words like leadership, teamwork, and communication. At the core of any great business, a common thread runs among organizational leadership—to motivate employees to be successful, to give clients world-class service, and to find the best vendors. At the core of leadership, teamwork, and communication lie respect.

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Being disrespectful to fellow employees generally results in workplace disagreements, emotional stress, and a disruption in operational functions. I have terminated employees for the very fact they did not treat their co-workers with respect.

Some years back, I had an executive in HR that I was told by other employees was rude and dismissive. My time with her had always been delightful; she was productive and making great improvements in our organization. I thought it was simply jealousy from other managers and not wanting to accept any new changes being implemented.

At some point, I was traveling with her to a background screening trade show. At the airport during departure was the first time I had a glimpse at how she belittled people.

As the day went on, I paid closer attention to the way she interacted with the team. They were absolutely right; she was extremely disrespectful. Needless to say, it was a very long night trying to justify her actions and I only became angrier. I couldn’t order room service, google solutions, or distract myself with the television. I wanted to fire her at the trade show and send her home. I wanted an apology to my team that had suffered her continued belittlement.

My first call the next morning was to my sister in law, an HR expert. Taking her advice, I counseled her at the tradeshow, however, she didn’t agree or recognize her actions as being disrespectful which resulted in no change of her actions. This left me no choice but to terminate the disrespectful, belittling employee immediately upon return adhering to policy and procedure.

Employees don’t need to love their manager or co-workers, but they all need to respect them. As I remind my leadership, every employee has value for some specific reason or we would have terminated their employment. For that one reason, we need to respect each and every employee.

It doesn’t necessarily mean a manager can’t give an employee direction, but it is the manner in which they go about it. When a manager is able to manage and lead with respect, they are also motivating that employee to achieve and leading their team to higher productivity rates. Respect is earned, not given. New managers, especially, struggle with the understanding that just because they have proven their ability and now are in management that they have to work to earn their teams respect as far as having respect for their leadership ability.

Great leaders know they must be considerate and fair, no matter the situation or their personal feelings. Some people perceive being respectful as being meek and lacking strength. Quite the opposite, being respectful begins with the basic consideration of an employee’s feelings. Respect is a 2-way street, if you want others to respect you, you have to respect others first. To be respectful,

  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Be courteous and polite.
  • Listen to what other people have to say.
  • Don’t insult people, make fun of them, or call them names.
  • Don’t judge people before you get to know them. Never make assumptions.
  • Don’t bully or pick on others.

At some point during our childhood, we may have experienced some kind of bullying whether it being at home or at school. Likewise, bullying takes place in the workplace and can have a serious negative impact on not only your employees but the business itself. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, up to a third of workers may be the victims of abuse by workplace bullies and about twenty percent of workplace bullying crosses the line into workplace harassment. Businesses should spend ample amount of time to train management and HR efficiently to guarantee the appropriate measures are always taken to not only prevent, but combat any form of workplace bullying effectively.

Workplace bullying is predominately emotional abuse and usually, the bully is a person in a position or authority that may feel threatened by the victim. If respect was always the number 1 rule of the house, bullying would not be an issue in any workplace. Businesses benefit from taking the necessary precautions to avoid bullying and it is essential for your leadership team to recognize the signs of bullying.

A persons’ understanding of respect can differ based on culture, background, and age. My personal hot button is the rolling of the eyes when one turns their back, especially if it is a person’s superior. Others may feel disrespected if they are corrected in front of their team and are combative to try and justify the situation when in reality they should just say thank you for having their teams back.

As much as I think I am perfect, I have had situations in which others felt I was being disrespectful towards them. I once gave an employee what I thought was a great compliment and they took it as one of the most demeaning things I could ever say. It is here where both people have to recognize the intent of the other and respect each other’s action, feelings, and justifications.

I have found that it is the intent and the apology that makes all of a difference. If you approach someone about being disrespectful and they are apologetic or embarrassed by their behavior, they are not a person you should consider disrespectful. The person that make excuses or tries to justify how they disrespected someone is the number one offender of the number one rule of the house—Respect.

In the best interest of any business, the first and foremost rule of the house should ALWAYS be respect.

InfoMart’s number 1 rule of the house is “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Take care TCB.”

How do you enforce respect in your organization? Share your story with me on social media: 

ABOUT TAMMY COHEN:

In 1989, Cohen founded InfoMart, a multi-million dollar pre-employment screening company that provides services to Fortune 500 companies nationwide. InfoMart has numerous “Best Place to Work” awards from various organizations. As a recognized expert in the employment screening industry, Cohen is often referred to as “The Queen of Screen” and was influential in the founding of the screening industry’s first trade association, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). Cohen is actively involved in a number of business and civic organizations and has received numerous personal honors, including a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record, the Entrepreneur of the Year award from YWCA of the USA, an Enterprising Woman of the Year Award from Enterprising Women, and the Phenomenal Women Award from the Siegel Institute.

ABOUT INFOMART:

InfoMart is an industry leader in background screening services, providing businesses the information they need to make well-informed hiring decisions. With more than 26 years in business, InfoMart is a pioneer in developing innovative technology and screening services, from criminal history searches to verifications of employment. Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a designation earned by less than 10% of the industry, InfoMart has been recognized on Workforce Magazine’s Hot List of Background Screening Providers for 10 consecutive years. The company prides itself on its dedication to customers, innovation, and accurate reporting. For more information about InfoMart, please visit www.infomart-usa.com or call (770) 984-2727.