Respect for all people is foundational to my personal values and my business philosophy.
I believe that every human being is worthy of respect. And I have seen time and time again that respect produces results.
“Manager knows best”
There’s a common belief (particularly among managers!) that the manager always knows best. But the nature of their job keeps managers away from the front-line. If they aren’t intentionally listening deeply to their teams, managers’ distance from the “shop floor” creates a disconnect between what they believe, and what front-line workers know.
Front-line workers as experts
Front-line workers are the experts in their jobs, what works well, and what’s tricky. They are a valuable source of knowledge. Many of the keys to organisational improvement are already well-known within a business – by the front-line. When managers listen respectfully, they allow their team members to unlock the potential improvements.
No rank in the room
The best improvement teams have “no rank in the room”; everyone shows, and receives, respect. It’s the improvement facilitator’s job to maintain this approach. If a manager is to participate in the group, then the facilitator should make it clear that everyone’s voice has equal weight. This creates an environment of respect for each individual and their unique contribution to the success of the organisation.
Respect = results
Some of the best improvement teams I’ve worked with were 100% front-line teams. Managers demonstrated their respect for the teams by ensuring they had the time, resources, and freedom necessary to implement their solutions, but kept out of the improvement process, trusting and respecting the team to know and do what was best.
Through this approach, each team “owned” their performance, taking accountability for making a tangible improvement to their area, and their contribution to the organisation. Results followed respect.