If you want to be respected, you must respect yourself.
– Spanish Proverb
Respect for people is one of the two pillars of Lean. However “people” doesn’t just mean the people that report to you, but everyone – your team, boss, customers, suppliers, community – and especially you. Don’t forget about respecting yourself. The “respect for people” concept from Toyota is more accurately translated as “respect for humanity.”
To respect people, and yourself, you must understand and support that there is a brain attached to the pair of hands. In addition to the “cost” of the pair of hands that is represented on traditional financial statements, what is the value of the brain? How can you increase that value by soliciting and using ideas, creativity, experience, and knowledge? What environment, both physical and organizational, is necessary to optimize and leverage that value?
Don’t forget that respect can also mean being upfront, in an appropriate manner, with areas for improvement, or even letting the person know he or she is not the right fit for a position.
A couple years ago I read an article on the power of calling people by their name. Not just instead of “hey you!” but in normal communication. When you write an email do you just launch into the subject, or do you start with “Dear Jim,”? How about in person or on the phone. Using someone’s name creates a connection that can be very powerful.
How does a recognition of the potential value of a person change your perspective on providing solid and ongoing feedback, challenging mindsets and perspectives, creating opportunities for learning, outsourcing, and agreeing to unnecessary commitments?