Respect at Work
|Posted on 29 July, 2020 at 8:45|
Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash.
Every time I am with a new group of training participants, I ask the question ‘how do you want to feel at work?’ Take a minute to think about that question for yourself.
The most common words I hear are valued, appreciated, productive, satisfied, safe and respected, all are excellent words to describe those feelings that we are all entitled to in our workplaces. Excellent words that describe those feelings that contribute to a sense of meaningfulness and that motivate us to not only be our absolute best work selves, but also to feel happier and increase our resilience.
As excellent as these words are, these discussions often leave me concerned — if these words are so common and most of us can relate to wanting/needing them in our workplace, then why do many participants roll their eyes and say “oh I wish we felt this”.
We each have different styles and skill sets that we bring to our jobs. We also have individual personalities and backgrounds and personal lives that intersect with our working day/week. The desired work environments of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s where we left our personal lives at the door “don’t bring your personal life to work” and “don’t take your work home” are well gone. Lines are blurred, technology allows us to check our work emails at 10.00pm and FaceBook at 10.00am, and, post COVID-19, we are much more aware of our colleagues lives outside of the office than ever before.
I have spoken with many friends and colleagues and there seems to be a divided mix of: those who say they never want to go back to the office as they are dreading the workplace relationships roller coaster, and, those that thrive on human interactions and are desperate to get ‘back to normal’ with face-to-face interactions.
Whichever version you prefer, what IS clear is that many people have really reflected on and potentially re-evaluated how they want to feel at work. Often the words used are still the ones from the top of this page but now people are not just reciting but are ready to expect and demand. I have read a few post COVID-19 articles lately about employees losing their voices at work (because of fear and job insecurity), this is a real issue but also deserves to be recognised as a pre-COVID-19 issue for many as well. The silence of a fearful or resentful staff member speaks volumes, providing safe and transparent opportunities for communication and engagement is as crucial now as ever before.
Workplaces need to engage and involve staff and individuals who expect (as they should) to be valued, appreciated, safe and respected. Workplace values are not always interpreted the same way for every individual, so take the time to unpack what words your team are using, for example what do they mean by ‘feeling appreciated or valued’? Whether working from home, back in the office or transitioning from one to the other, productive, safe and respectful workplaces don’t just happen on their own. Human emotions require human effort and participation.
Respect at Work works with teams and individuals to prioritise workplace wellness and respectful cultures.
|Posted on 14 July, 2020 at 23:30|
Photo by Ben Weber on Unsplash
CONFIDENCE AND COMMITMENT
About 12 months ago, and almost 2 years into my business owner journey I started to waiver. I believed in Respect at Work (RaW) and knew it was a good business, necessary and well received by my clients and their staff. BUT… someone had sent me the link to a job that was exactly what I had been looking for prior to RaW, suddenly my perfect sole trader existence paled against this new shiny possibility.
It happened as easily as that, I was proud of RaW and hadn’t even considered anything else or giving up on my dream, the only tiny crack was my dislike of marketing.
What happened next isn’t surprising. With one foot in and one foot out, my commitment to growing my business was affected. I was still delivering great training sessions, but my passion was compromised. This potential ‘dream job’ became a distraction, in hindsight I am thankful that I didn’t get it but it took me a long time to gain back that 100% commitment – ‘just in case’ there was another ‘shiny perfect job’ just around the corner.
You can’t give 100% to a workplace when your commitment is compromised!
Along came COVID-19 and I almost gave up again. I was stressed and scared and as I downloaded the SEEK app, I told myself that I was being a realist. Once again, I had one foot in and one foot out.
Thanks to the Job Keeper scheme and a degree of stubbornness (and a lack of brighter, shinier options) RaW appears to have come out the other side and I’m back delivering training and chatting to staff. This is awesome as now more than ever investing in staff culture and communication is crucial and I know that RaW training can make positive changes to your workplace culture.
Like anyone I make mistakes, but I learn from them.
Both of my one foot in, one foot out experiences have reminded me that believing in and committing to what you do makes a difference.
I have now deleted the SEEK app and have made the absolute commitment to not just be passionate about my business but to live and breathe it 100% every day. I am being vulnerable, I’m asking for help and mentoring (I still don’t like marketing), I’m investing in a new professionally fresh website and I’m putting RaW first.
But this is not just an insight for me. Do you have both feet in? Are your staff all in? Distractions for your staff may not be newer and shinier options, they may be fear, confusion and distrust. COVID-19 has affected all of us in one way or another and the recent months have provided many distractions to our previously ‘normal’ work lives. Are you role modelling the passion for your organisation that you want your staff to emulate? Are you staff really able to honestly commit? or is there doubt, fear, gossip, negativity and disrespect distracting them from the belief and passion that you need to drive your workplace culture?
Investing in Respect at Work training sessions for your team/s demonstrates an investment in your staff and in your workplace culture. We’re all responsible for our workplace culture but sometimes we need to be reminded of it’s (and our individual) worth.
|Posted on 22 June, 2020 at 0:00|
Last Friday I delivered my first training session in over 2 months - I had my COVID safety plan, I was excited, just a little nervous and truely grateful to be back doing what I love.
Friday night I was happy but exhausted! 4 hours face to face with a room of appropriately distanced participants had been exhilarating but tough.. interactions are surprisingly noisy and tiring when you're out of practice.
Friday reassured me that I had made the right decision by not adapting my content to on-line training. Respect at Work staff and manager sessions rely on face to face interactions and the flexibility of being able to adapt the content to the requirements of the participants. I have never delivered 2 identical sessions even when in the same workplace, my content resonates differently as particpants explore what respect means to them and their team. This is how I like to deliver and this seems to be what makes Respect at Work sessions successful.
At the beginning of restrictions and amongst the fear and angst I was afraid that business' would rate investing dollars on staff relationships and workplace cultures at the bottom of their list of priorities. Thankfully for some this is not true.
Investing in your people and your culture is more important now than ever before.
Let me know if Respect at Work can help at your workplace.
|Posted on 27 April, 2020 at 1:15|
I am one of the lucky ones - I am feeling quite comfortable with this ISO situation. I was already used to working from home and thanks to the promise of Job Keeper lessening the pressure of no current income, I have been enjoying myself, upgrading some on-line qualifications, embracing morning yoga and just staying home with plenty of pleasant distractions.
I have gratitude and know that I am lucky to feel this way, it is a much different situation for many others; I have not had to fear for my health or grieve a loved one, I am able to pay my bills and feed my family and I am safe and loved in my isolation.
There is certainty that this will end - when is a question that none of us can answer - but it will end and what then?
I find myself thinking about what our new post pandemic normal might look like. I imagine people coming back together in workplaces and social settings, each with their own story of sacrifice and hardship. Every story will be significant to that person and their family and no one story can or should be compared to another. For the parties living their story, any hardship suffered is theirs and will be significant to them, it should not be judged or lessened by another's.
I imagine a situation not dissimilar to high schoolers coming back to school after the Christmas break. Some may have kept in touch, others may have completely isolated, choosing to stay away from social media. Some friendships may fall back into easy comfort and companionship, others may be awkward or distant. Employees who previously embraced and rolled with change may now be anxious and vice versa. There is a potential for gossip to increase, new cliques to form and feelings of paranoia and distrust to heighten.
Some workplaces have been able to easily transition to working from home and regular zoom catch ups, providing support, security and transparency to their employees. Others have not been so lucky, there will be employees who have felt unsupported by their workplace during the period of isolation and there will be employees faced with uncertainty about the future of their employment and their path going forward.
In our 'new workplace normal' the importance of putting people first has never been as important. Creating mentally safe workplace environments will be crucial, prioritising communication and transparency (as much as possible) is going to be paramount to maintaining positive workplace cultures.
Thankfully, there are many resources appearing to assist and support workplaces through this time, this is the time to research, prioritise and implement. Here are a couple of links worth looking at:
|Posted on 1 April, 2020 at 23:45|
I'm also spending way too much time on FaceBook, I'm there for the humour and the positive stories (of which there are so many) but I'm also reading the stories of frustration, fear and disrespect. It's a tough time for everyone right now, everyone is travelling their own journey and feeling the impact. In the days, weeks and months to come I intend to practice peace and love, because with all the uncertainty in the World, that's what I have to give.
|Posted on 4 March, 2020 at 13:15|
This Sunday (8 March) is International Women's Day (IWD), what a great reminder to celebrate us as women and applaud all our successes and achievements. Today I was privileged to speak at a lunch of amazing business women, so for this blog I am sharing some of that speech.
The theme for IWD 2020 is #Each for Equal, so quoting straight from the IWD website:
'An equal world is an enabled world.
Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
Let's all be #EachforEqual.'
I love this picture of the first IWD march in New York in 1911, I made the decision to not speak about the timeline of IWD and all of the past milestones today but please do your own historical research because our journey is full of brave set-backs and victories.
Today I spoke about bias and of our role to challenge bias and stereotypes in our workplaces and in society.
Many years ago, I started an apprenticeship as the only female in a workplace. I was 19 y/o and feeling great, being the only female didn’t concern me, I hadn’t even really thought about it… until… the day that I found the betting book that contained the odds for every one of the 20 male staff as to who would sleep with me and when. I was also told (often) by management that I would never be as good as the boys.
I never spoke up, not once – I fought a silent fight, worked hard and won best first year apprentice – but still I was never truly equal. In fact, I was told that I had only managed good marks because females find study easier – still I said nothing.
I think of stories of other women. A friend of mine (also the sole female in her team) fought for her acceptance by baking and cleaning. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this and I applaud muffins and cakes made by someone else but looking through a gender bias lens I couldn’t help but cringe whenever she talked about it.
So please, take a second to think about any gender stereotypes at your workplace.
Who takes the tea-towels home to wash?
Are there mugs like these proudly displayed? Do you take pride in being known as the ‘bitch’, ‘gossip’, ‘drama queen’, is it a badge of honour?
What are your conversations like?
We are all capable of falling into bias traps, our minds take shortcuts to where stereotypes are the default. But do you challenge stereotypes and call out gender bias? If you hear a female colleague referred to as a bitch do you ask would a male be referred to in the same way?
At some point in my journey I realised that to do and say nothing I was in fact condoning the bias, and as a teacher, a daughter, a mother I have a responsibility to strive for the equal, non-biased future I believe in.
Being aware of bias, however, is not enough, we need to recognise, stop and challenge stereotypical beliefs and actions. So, congratulations to everyone who actively practices being a great ally, building each other up and encouraging respectful collaboration and support.
Equality for women in the workplace has come a long way but I think we can and should always challenge ourselves to do more.
When we look at the past we might think ‘what were they thinking’; my mum surprised me a while back, there was something on the tv about the #me too movement and mum suddenly said ‘oh, why are they all making such a fuss now’, ‘this was years ago, what does it matter?’. I nearly fell off the chair, I guess I had just assumed that my mum, who was part of a generation that had to leave work once she was married and had few rights, would get it. But when we talked, I think she was somehow blind to the issue and impact of sexual harassment. So, I wonder what might we be blind to today? What are the things that we accept that future generations will be shocked at?
Yes, we’ve come a long way and that is cause for celebration, but as women, let’s be advocates for ourselves and our female co-workers, not just for IWD but every day. And as people of all genders let’s challenge ourselves to be better allies, let’s practice building each other up and encouraging respectful, collaboration and support.
Because we’re all responsible for our workplace culture and we all have a part to play in the fight for a better more inclusive society.
|Posted on 6 February, 2020 at 23:35|
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
I sometimes forget to respect myself. I forget to celebrate achievements; I wallow in frustrations and bring myself down. Rather than celebrate the great contract I've just received or the project I'm working on, I obsess about the phone call I'm waiting for.
Rather than feeling awesome after the long walk I went on before work and the healthy eating I've been doing all week, I beat myself up for the jar of peanut butter I've snacked on ALL afternoon.
I also don't always respect my family, to respect someone is to value them and to not judge and some days I'm just not great at this. I make sarcastic comments, I groan and talk about them behind their back.
To respect someone is to listen to them and accept their individuality, I don't always listen and at times I have disrespected workmates and taken friends for granted.
Wow, I can be disrespectful!
I wish that respect was something once gained and never lost.
I wish that respect (both self-respect and for others) was always easy no matter what mood we might be in.
Respect is not difficult or unattainable, no-one is incapable of giving and receiving respect. We are human and sometimes we need reminders for the little things, showing respect is easy but in our haste to get things done we occasionally put the easy things aside. Respect and kindness are so easy to demonstrate but sometimes they require a little conscious effort. Just as important as the need to praise ourselves when we achieve great results or do something well, is the need to notice when we could have chosen our words or our tone better.
When I give respect, I am happy, when I receive respect, I am happy and confident and when I am in a respectful environment I thrive.
Respect at Work training looks at your workplace, unpacks respect and provides simple reminders to your staff.
Please get in touch if your workplace could benefit from some more respect and kindness
|Posted on 13 January, 2020 at 20:00|
Last November I completed DISC ADVANCED accreditation training and am now a DISC ADVANCED Accredited Consultant - Yay for me
Prior to the training I had just enough DISC knowledge to have my fingers crossed that it would be a useful tool and something I would be comfortable to believe in and confidently use going forward. Happily DISC delivered everything I hoped for and I am excited to start using it.
DISC ADVANCED was specifically designed for the workplace and is described as 'The World’s Most Advanced Behavioural Assessment System', widely used by Australian Business and all levels of Government. A personal bonus for me is that the original 4 Quadrant DISC model was created (in the 1920's) by William Marston who was (amongst other things) the creator of Wonder Woman - you've got to love the lasso of truth!
The 4 quadrants are D = dominance, I = influence, S = steadiness and C = compliance, no one quadrant is any 'better' than the others and individual assessments come back with results that are combinations of the quadrant styles. DISC assessments measure both the subconscious “real self” and the conscious behavioural style, these 2 profiles(real and adjusted) provide enormous self-awareness and potential for self-development for individuals. What I also love about this tool is the further option to look at pair or team assessments, thus providing insights, strengths, challenges and communication strategies.
As an accredited consultant my job is to make sure the results are interpreted correctly and to debrief participants on how they can/should use the results. DISC ADVANCED assessments fit so well to the aim of Respect at Work — to create and maintain safe, fair and peaceful workplace cultures. Please get in touch if you would like to add DISC ADVANCED assessments to your team Respect at Work training or one on one coaching.
|Posted on 22 December, 2019 at 21:00|
Here we are again, the end of another year and this time we have the bonus optimism of a new decade.
For many people this is the time for family, friends and celebrations, for others this time represents something very different and for those people I wish compassion and tolerance and send my respect.
As with everything human, this time of the year is full of contradictions; the stress and pressure of creating 'perfect' happy family memories causes impatience, rudeness and lack of respect to service staff and others marching to the same pressures — that doesn't really make much sense. I was talking to a staff member at my local supermarket and asked her if people are nicer at this time of year, she dramatically rolled her eyes and proceeded to tell me horror stories of impatient shoppers blaming her for any (and every) delay. What is wrong with us that we can treat others in ways that we would never accept for ourselves or for our loved ones?
People appreciate a smile and a few words, no judgement necessary. Respect translates across cultures, generations and all differences; after all, it takes more energy to judge and disrespect than it does to accept and smile.
I wish everyone a safe and happy end of year and all the very best for 2020 - I'm feeling excited - it's going to be a good year
|Posted on 1 December, 2019 at 23:40|
Image by Gabrielle_RRI from Pixabay
The things people get caught up on never cease to amaze me. Words often become an issue when they are attached to the concept of 'political correctness'; that concept itself is then verbalised with invisible air inverted commas " ". The term political correctness defined by Wikipedia is 'used to describe a preference for inclusive language and avoiding language or behaviour that can be seen as excluding, marginalizing, or insulting groups of people considered disadvantaged or discriminated against, especially groups defined by sex or race.' — If this is political correctness, it sounds like a lovely respectful idea to me.
Only a few days ago I was asked 'why does it matter if I say that something is retarded or gay?', After an internal sigh I launched into the 'it matters to anyone who may identify with those attributes if those names are used in a negative way' explanation. Next came the 'if I don't mean it, why should I care if someone is offended?' question - followed by 'words have power', and 'impact not intent' discussions. It is easy to feel judgement to those that think differently to us, for me that may be to judge the racist, homophobic or sexist words or comments of an individual, thinking of them as ignorant or rude. But if we don't provide safe spaces for questions and calm conversations are we not stifling opportunities to break down ignorance? If knowledge is power surely we have an obligation to share it safely and respectfully.
Respect is such a great word; as demonstrated by the number of workplaces with respect as one of their values. It feels like it should be simple to define until people try to explain it. My favourite explanations of respect include; valuing other people, not judging, and kindness to others. Interestingly I have also had conversations with those that don't believe kindness has a place when business decisions need to be made, I personally don't agree but I can see where their perception is coming from. Other words that seem to cause refection at times are; clique, assertiveness and bullying.
Political correctness, respect, kindness, clique, assertiveness, bullying; these are all words that we may interpret depending on our personal histories. What is important is that we keep having conversations. Safe conversations allow us to listen and from active listening comes the human ability to learn (possibly apologise), adapt and move on respectfully.