AK Value of the month (April): Respect everyone and be fair

Give respect, get respect (source: http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/yourcumbria/summer2008/respect.asp)

It was about time to get started for the Value of the Month for April. Last time things were delayed a little bit but this time we had the flexibility to work on that early enough to allow everything to be ready on time. The value selected for April is No 4: “Respect everyone and be fair”, which according to the reference post is defined as:

We commit to act with respect and consideration towards our colleagues and clients. We have zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior, independently of the hierarchical level of the aggressor. When we act inappropriately, we apologize promptly – and if needed, publicly. We have the obligation to stand up to our values. We listen to and treat each voice with respect, objectively and non-hierarchically.

Let me express my personal opinion here: Respect is one of the core components for any kind of relation, including collaboration with colleagues; I could never be involved in any kind of collaboration characterized by lack of respect. When one is operating/working in a defined environment, he/she needs to feel respected and at the same time he needs to respect the rest; I am surely operating in this way. Personally I always respect friends and colleagues, and this is something that comes out naturally; I respect their work, their point of view and actions even when they are not according to my beliefs or standards. I also feel lucky enough to be respected in my work, both in AK as well as outside of it. Sometimes this might not be obvious and it might not come easy – sometimes you even have to fight about that but in the end you get the respect you deserve (if you deserve it at first of course 🙂 )

One important fact about respect is that it is earned – not taken for granted. No matter where everyone stands in a defined hierarchy, he needs to be respected but he should not request respect just because of his position. In this direction, in a small group like the AK team, we need to show our respect in various levels; from respecting the office rules, our colleagues and collaborators, their efforts and time, schedule etc. A bad case would be receiving a last-minute request from anyone, that needs to have something delivered in a short notice; this shows that your schedule is not respected, your time is not respected and in the end that you are taken for granted, being considered as the one to provide the solution in a short time without taking other aspects into consideration…

 

Source: http://www.thomasvan.com/relationships/its-called-respect-not-control

 

 

Being fair is also another crucial attribute for someone working in a team or a defined context. Equal opportunities need to be given to everyone, regardless their status and position while decisions need to be objective. I have to admit that this is not always easy, as we tend to have our own virtues and this might affect our judgement; however, in the end we need to do our best in order to be objective and fair in our work.  Being fair requires a clear judgement, giving equal opportunities and much more. To me it is obvious that everyone working in a team should be fair; if not, according to the “natural selection” process, he is eventually removed from the team…

Let’s see what the rest of the AK have to comment on that, starting with Elena who was the representative of the previous month’s Value:

Elena: I think that this value ” Respect everyone and be fair” is one of the most important values. I think that respect is the key for the good collaboration. So, in AK we want to have good collaborations and I see that in practice all of us feel respect for the others and we are ready to be apologized in case of wrong behaviour. I strongly believe what the following sign says.

 

Give respect, get respect (source: http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/yourcumbria/summer2008/respect.asp)

Give respect, get respect (source: http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/yourcumbria/summer2008/respect.asp)

 

Mada, another member of the AK team, was kind enough to contribute her own understanding of the value of the month: To me “respect everyone and be fair” translates into “respect everyone’s views, knowledge and time”. Given time pressure and our desire to proudly deliver great results, we sometimes forget to listen, we forget that some’s views, knowledge or experience can be just as valuable as others’. We might sometimes think that we know best, that out time or tasks are the most important. This value is a reminder that fairness and respect should come before other duties.

It would be interesting to see what other AK team members have to say about the value of the month: In the comments to this post feel free to speak out your thoughts about the value of this month, express ideas, comments, give examples or even just upload a photo/picture that represents the way you understand the value.

 

As always, your contribution is not obligatory, but we would like to see 18 different comments (and even more, if possible)!

7 Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more with the views I read above… 😉 I would also like to add another parameter that kind of comes before giving respect to others, receiving it, etc. I think it all starts from the respect you have for yourself, as the image clearly indicates! If someone is not respecting, valuing, loving and appreciating himself, his work, his ethics, his boundaries, etc., it’s kind of expected that others will not respect him as well.

    So, before respecting everyone else, either a colleague or a client, let’s look inside and make sure that we are respectful (and fair for that matter) with ourselves first of all. Then, and only then we may express this to the world as well… This is true respect, the real kind, and not the fake, politeness one, that is only for the “public eyes” to see…

    As far as the fairness goes, this one is actually trickier than respect if you ask me… Being fair is about being logical, being impartial and factual as well. It’s not easy, even for judges that do this as a profession… And imagine that they have a code (law) to follow.. All we have to go with is our own belief system, our ethics and our perception of reality. Being fair for me is to treat everyone as intimately as it was yourself, but at the same time keeping your distance from them to be able to see things objectively in any given situation, either a personal one or a professional.

    (image taken from: http://www.daveswordsofwisdom.com/2013/05/never-settle-for-anything-other-than.html)

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  2. (Trying to help the discussion going a bit further):

    Respect may apply to different levels, such as the following:
    – Respect at a personal level (as a personality);
    – Respect for your work (if you feel that work work is properly acknowledged);
    – Respect for your time (if you feel that your time and time-plan/scheduled is respected).

    Do you feel respected in your daily routine? Can you share good and bad practices of respect without having to refer to actual facts etc.?

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  3. I will be honest: “Respect everyone and be fair” is one of those values that are tremendously difficult for bosses (or supervisors, or managers) to remember, recall, live up to. And having worked for a couple of extremely difficult people in the past (no, not only during my academic career 🙂 ), it has been extremely difficult to understand and ensure that I should always respect and be fair with my team.

    It’s like a test that life seems to make you take when you start working with a team and supervising the work of others. And this is also one of the beautiful parts of learning how you can become a better leader, rather than a more effective manager.

    Please understand that I have to catch up a lot in order to manage to grasp this value. For instance, it was only last year that I understood that I sucked in this. My 360 evaluation feedback included comments like:
    – “Nikos is sometimes too aggressive or has a mocking tone, especially in written communication. This can make team members insecure and create an unpleasant atmosphere.”
    – ” I believe that his current attitude towards other team members creates a tense atmosphere and insecurity. He should trust his employees and encourage their creativity, instead of trying to do everything according to his way.”

    So I have been working hard to improve this aspect, and I am really looking forward to the new 360 evaluation in order to see where I stand. To achieve it, I am using scientifically appreciated and proven tools like the well-known A.R.S.E instrument (http://electricpulp.com/guykawasaki/arse/) and read about what other in my position do (http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/07/you-know-your-boss-is-a-certified-asshole-when.html). I keep an eye to ways that may help the team develop their self-awareness as far this dimension is concerned (http://www.mycareerquizzes.com/bad-boss-test), so that they also help me comply to this value. And I have found the right book that explains why should companies (and their CEO’s) do it: http://www.employeesfirstbook.com.

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  4. I definitely agree with all the above. My only concern is the statement that you should deserve respect. And I will explain myself… Few minutes of philosophy now 🙂
    “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” – Said Albert Einstein.
    How many of us behave like this in everyday life?
    We say that we should deserve respect. In what aspect though? Do we know about our colleagues everything? Or we judge only superficially according to their performance at work? We judge according to OUR beliefs and our moral code. So, do we have the right to ask from people to deserve OUR respect?
    What I believe 100%, is that “If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.” (c) If you respect your own time, your own ideas, your own colleagues – in ideal world – you will get respect back. Without mutual respect we would not have such a great team, in the first place 🙂

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