by John Hall, Forbes Magazine, 3/8/20.
Entrepreneurs are said to have egos. That’s a fair assessment — I don’t know a single founder who doesn’t have a need to be seen, to leave a mark on the world. But the entrepreneurs I know need something far more important than that: respect. They want people to understand how valuable their time is. The problem is that many of them fail to extend that same respect when it comes to their team members’ time.
As noted in a previous Forbes article, respect is the third most important thing employees look for when seeking a new job. While that may not be top of mind for you, it certainly is for others. Eighty percent of employees surveyed in a study cited in the Memphis Business Journal said that “lack of respect is a serious problem in the workplace” — and that it was getting worse. Another study found that 63% of those who don’t feel respected intend to leave their present job within two years.
You may think you don’t “waste” anyone’s time. Intentional or not, here are some common ways we’ve all done it:
- Scheduling unnecessary or last-minute meetings
- Going over the allotted time for a meeting
- Tardiness, such as arriving late or missing deadlines
- Not respecting boundaries, such as calling a colleague at 11 p.m. or emailing at 6 a.m. on a Saturday
- Interrupting people when they’re speaking or clearly focused on their work — cues like wearing headphones or closing their office door signify interruptions aren’t welcome
- Assigning or delegating a task to someone at the last second or when he’s already working at full capacity
- Filling a person’s inbox with messages that have no real value
- Not responding to important messages or keeping people updated on your progress
- Breaking promises, such as having a reputation for canceling meetings at the last minute
- Being unprepared, like arriving at a meeting without having reviewed the agenda
Not only are these actions disrespectful, but they’re also impacting others’ performance.