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Leaders Value And Respect
The People They Work With

By Monica Wofford

It all begins with the following words… if you have ever been given the privilege of managing people, consider yourself fortunate. Management is a privilege. It is an opportunity to have a captive audience paid to listen to you and potentially follow your directions. That captive audience is not, however, a modified version of the Star Trek Borg population, living in a cube and acting as one unit. They are not waiting eagerly to be “assimilated into your collective”. They are unique people with lives the lived before you became their manager and will continue to live when you are no longer their manager. The impact that you can have as a leader, instead of just a manager, may stay with them long after they have departed your command. So, how do you show those you lead that you value and respect them?

Call them what they are: Do away with words such as “human capital”, “direct reports”, or “subordinates”. You don’t hear that last one much any more, but the “human capital” term is gaining ground and popularity. Remember the key to your role as a leader are the people that you serve.

Describe them as those that work with you: No one works for you, no matter how cute or powerful you are. They work for the purpose of having status, paying the bills, putting kids through college or maybe just getting out of the house. you are not the reason for which they come to work, but you are the one they work with.

Ask and Acknowledge: Spend time asking questions of those you lead and more than just the routine “Hi, How are you?” which is always answered by “fine”. I mean real questions such as what are you goals, what is it that you love to do, and what is your biggest pet peeve? The real questions are what lead you to the real people who do the real job.

Treat them with dignity: There is no reason to yell, bark at, or show the slightest lack of respect to those people you lead. Those you lead do the work every day and even if they slip up, they are still more familiar with the daily operations than most managers bogged down in paperwork. At the very least remember what it would be like if you had to do their job and yours and treat them with the respect that everyone deserves.

No matter where you work and the culture of that workplace, people are people, period. They all deserve respect, yet sometimes in the busy nature of our administratively overrun management roles, it becomes easy to see those people we serve as just numbers on a budget, slots on a schedule, or worse yet, mere human capital. Hmmm. Capital – cattle – capital – cattle – kind of sounds the same, but we all know they are certainly not. Don’t fall into the trap of being a manager who attempts to manage the employee base. Employees are people not things and managers manage things, whereas Leaders (particularly Contagious ones) lead people.

Read other articles and learn more about Monica Wofford.

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