An HBR study of employees found some unsurprising results. At least they are unsurprising if you have been looking at any of the data on engagement or involvement and employee attitudes on leadership. Employees do not get what they perceive as RESPECT from their managers. Half feel they are not respected.

Rodney Dangerfield Respect

Here is Rodney Dangerfield on Respect (3 minutes on YouTube)

Yeah, like Rodney, people feel that they simply get no respect from their management. And there are lots of data to support this over the years. (Some of us might be surprised to see that fully half do feel like they get respect when so few are actively involved and engaged, since these are correlated.)

Being a motivational manager requires facing issues head on and dealing with people and conflict. Employees want a leader that will stand up for them, communicate well and generate trust and engagement. Employees want a boss that will listen to them and help solve problems.

Research by Dale Carnegie Training showed that pride in the company and belief in the senior managers were key factors in driving organizational engagement, as is the relationship with one’s direct supervisor. A long series of Gallup surveys support the idea that personal relationships are critical factors for success.

And  this has Big Benefits. A 2010 study by the Corporate Executive Board found that, “firms whose culture encourages open communication outperform peers by more than 270% in terms of long-term (10 year) total shareholder return.”

Clearly, respect is a critical factor for performance and success. But it is not generally judged to be important. The HBR research shared that over 60% of managers claim that they are overloaded with things to accomplish and have no time to be nice to their people. One forth claimed that they had no role model within their organization (basically, they probably feel that they do not get any respect from their bosses!) Yet treating people with respect generates engagement, as the following graph shows.:

HBR Treat with Respect

If we could just get managers and supervisors to deal with the following kind of situation more effectively, I think we would see tremendous dividends.

Square Wheels LEGO image of devil's advocate

But when supervisors don’t feel they have the time to consider ideas and talk with their people about issues of missions, visions, goals and expectations, we are leaving a lot of motivation on the table. People do need to feel respected, along with involved and engaged. Feeling like they are an integral part of the performance team is a very positive thing.

This does not get us what we want:

Square Wheels LEGO Mission Poster image by Scott Simmerman

What we need to do is address the issues of communication, of mission and vision, of expectations and we need to get the ideas of everyone about what needs improvement and what ideas exist to accomplish those improvements.

(Here is an article about building a better sense of mission – including the In The Beginning description of the reality of creating such a thing.)

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

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Also published on Medium.