In early November, an online article suggested some ways to gain respect in the workplace. A fundamental design feature of our team-building “engagement process” is a focus on respect, so I’ve borrowed the article’s ten topic headings to point out how our process will help team members gain and express new respect for colleagues as they join and become invested in its success.
1. Do What You Say You Will
Now you can make it easier to accept responsibility and follow through. Base your plans and commitments as much as possible on what you know you’re good at, and what you consider your top priority. The more your fellow team members know about your personal as well as professional capabilities, the more likely they’ll be to ask you to do tasks you’ll follow through on. And the better you know yourself, the easier it will be to accept responsibility for what needs to get done. Then gain new respect as a team leader.
2. Be Moderate
A sharper focus on tasks and problem solving than on personalities and power will reduce team members’ tendency to get political. Help keep them involved, actively engaged and non-judgmental by keeping the meetings productive for individuals, pairs of people or entire teams. Promote a team culture that reduces politics and jockeying for power. Everyone will win.
3. Give Respect
Showing respect is a powerful way to recognize others’ talents and efforts–and recognition is the most effective motivator. Learning more about the company from manager team members will also make it easier for line employees to support large, costly company-wide programs such as quality or cost controls.
4. Give Credit
Following our process, it becomes easier for you to give public credit for good work. There will be a written record of what the colleague achieved, and most importantly each will gain new leadership opportunities based on their successes.
5. Keep an Open Mind
Stop struggling to work around corrosive “not invented here syndrome” and defensive positioning. A fully implemented process and its simple ground rules will encourage open-minded conversations, collaboration and planning.
6. Don’t Blur the Line
Confusing professional and personal relationships can lead to immediate and fatal consequences. Yet our favorite social media sites encourage us to talk business with friends-even those we’ll never meet in person. Our process encourages collegial discussions of projects and tasks, without distracting team members.
7. Don’t be a “Kiss-Up”
In many workplaces, employees without much to offer the company or team may resort to fawning, in a misguided attempt to get ahead. Such unproductive behavior alienates coworkers, and reduces the chance that they’ll ever contribute much of value. Our process, specifically designed to encourage and recognize meaningful contributions from all team members, discourages such behavior and makes it easier for everyone to become more productive.
8. Don’t be a “Mouse,” either
During problem-solving meetings, employees and managers are encouraged to take on leadership of tasks or project phases when they have the most to contribute. Moderators will actively draw out less active team members, already prepared to tap into all of their talents, traits and experience.
9. Don’t be Defensive
As mentioned earlier, each team member will understand the benefits of supporting rather than undermining his or her colleagues. If any comment makes you feel uncomfortable or criticized, consider it part of the brainstorming process and think of a new, valuable idea or suggestion.
10. Don’t be “Dismal”
Recognizing the sometimes historic importance of the process you’re involved in, and accepting the responsibility as well as personal benefits of seeing that it succeeds, should encourage you to stay positive and productive. If that ever becomes difficult, have a personal conversation with a more positive colleague and work on your attitude. More than most of your past professional activities, this is your chance to shine. Don’t throw a wet blanket over it!