You know how you can feel so strongly about something that, for you at least, it becomes a reality? That’s how I felt, and feel, about the necessity of respect in the workplace.
However, there’s never been any clear evidence substantiating the correlation between respectful workplace relationships and on the job productivity and safety. That is, not until now.
In the September 26 edition of EHS Today Weekly Update, Paul Meshanko, author of The Respect Effect: Using the Science of Neuroleadership to Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace (McGraw-Hill, 2013), writes about using the discipline and studies of neuroscience to support a conclusion that states in order to get the most out of your employees, you have to first respect your employees. He is also CEO of Legacy Business Cultures.
Meshanko writes that an authoritative management style of “do as you are told” is not only outdated but counterproductive as well. The supporting science behind the reasoning says that employee’s brains release cortisol and adrenaline in response to such tactics which actually shuts down that part of brain, the prefrontal cortex region, which enables the person to do the work.
By contrast, work environments that emphasis the value of their employees and seek to nurture and appreciate their involvement and input produce chemical cocktails of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine in employee’s brains that improves their focus, advances collaboration and facilitates their resilience. Those employees become emotionally tied to the success of their workplace.
And he goes even farther by stressing that establishing such a productive climate begins at the top of the chain of command. Managers, administrators, business owners and CEO’s are all responsible for leading by example and setting a tone that creates a respectful workplace.
He also speaks to the benefit such an environment produces.
Respectful workplace cultures develop fewer discrimination, harassment or bullying issues. He writes that according to statistics published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. corporations paid $445.8 million to settle discrimination-related violations in 2012. These figures do not include attorney and other legal fees nor do they take into account the money spent on out-of-court settlements.
But there is hope on the horizon.
Author and leadership speaker Doug Dickerson speaks to there being four steps to building a culture of respect in the workplace.
• Teach it – Have clear concise definitions of acceptable behavior and hold staff accountable
• Adapt it – Tailor make your policies to fit your company
• Model it – Company leaders must lead by example
• Praise it - As Dickerson says, what you praise you perpetuate. Praise good behavior in order to make it commonplace in your work environment
Source: EHSToday, Respect in the Workplace Can Increase Safety and Productivity, Paul Meshanko, September 24, 2013; International Business Times, Four Steps to Building a Culture of Respect, Doug Dickerson, October 1, 2013.