Is respecting your employees the same as respecting your children?

When I started my business there was one thing I wanted to impart to management more than anything else, that they should treat their employees with as much respect as they can.  Respect, in my opinion is the cornerstone of all good management practices.  For example, an employer who respects their employees is more likely NOT to break labour laws because they feel their employees deserve to be treated lawfully.  In my opinion, they will try and do whatever they can for their employees.  In keeping with the idea that my business is like a family, I started to question whether treating employees with respect was the same thing as treating children with respect?

In my opinion, the answer is yes, respect is the same in both cases.  Why?  Because I feel the following behaviors, which demonstrate respect, are recommended behaviors in both parenting and management books and articles:

  1. Demonstrating thoughtfulness, empathy and kindness (please, thank you, excuse me, offer apologies when necessary, engage in active listening, etc…)
  2. Showing trust
  3. Teaching, providing tools, resources and/or information
  4. Establishing clear expectations and follow through on commitments
  5. Giving feedback, both positive and constructive
  6. Working together
  7. Avoiding public discipline
  8. Allowing them privacy

Although the list is generic, it is clear to me that by offering employees and children our respect we will not only receive respect, but a strong relationship in return.

Finally, as I write this blog, I am acutely aware that despite my best efforts, I have slipped and have not shown my children and my employees respect at all times.  I have made mistakes.  However, I also owned up to these mistakes and apologized for my errors and, consequently, have tried harder.  Mistakes are normal; and as we can see from the list above, apologizing for our mistakes also shows our children and employees they are respected.

What do you think? What other behaviors demonstrate our respect?

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