Some preposterous cultural misconceptions have led certain individuals to think that their big titles give them some exceptional privileges that they can use to defy the norms or even mistreat other people.
Give extraordinary power to a fool, and you will convert him in the chief danger for the mankind. – Erich Fromm (1900-1980) Psychoanalyst and social philosopher.
I´m sorry to disappoint those guys, but the title or hierarchical position in a group or organization DOES NOT make any of us superior to any other human being. Every human, beyond title and position, deserves to be treated with respect.
Respect represents our feeling of esteem for other people. Your respect for other´s appearance, position, abilities, judgments, values, beliefs, gender, sexual condition, morals, etc. will also determine the respect you earn in return.
Respecting others does not mean that you need to agree with their opinion or that they must agree with yours because of your title. All you have to do is to respect each other indeed.
The University of Berkeley run a study more than a decade ago about how “The higher the authority given to an individual, the lower the respect he/she would show for other human beings.”
Situation: Three Berkeley students are sent to a room. In the room, there was a table, a tray with four cookies and three chairs.
Positions and authority: Two students will brainstorm for 30 min. And the third student is given the power to evaluate their ideas.
The results were shocking. In most cases the students with power tended to:
- Take the fourth cookie without asking.
- Eat with their mouths open.
- Leave more crumbs.
We can express our respect for other individuals in many different ways; the most typical forms of respect are communication, conduct, and manners, but what we CAN NEVER DO, is to believe that our title makes us superior to other human beings.
Egotism and power is a very poisoning and dangerous combination.
In the lines below I will use some brief quotes to emphasize 10 things that your titleDOES NOT give you the right to do unto others.
# 1. Abuse.
You never know what burdens people bear or what they are going through. You may have power to lift their spirits or break them. Treat people with kidness. – Nishan Panwar
# 2. Interrupt.
There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse, as John Locke said. Your title does not make you wiser than anyone else.
# 3. Impose.
We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path – Paul Cohelo
# 4. Insult.
We can insult others in many different ways. You don’t have to disrespect and insult others simply to hold your own ground. If you do, that shows how shaky your own position is. – Red Haircrow
# 5. Lie.
We tell lies when we are afraid… afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger. -Tad Williams
# 6. Manipulate.
Choose to live by choice, not by chance; to make changes, not excuses; to motivate others, not to manipulate them; to be useful, not to use others in your own benefit. – Unknown
# 7. Neglect.
Some people hurt by words and some by action, but the biggest hurt I believe is that someone ignoring you when you thought they would be there for you when things go wrong. – Unknown
# 8. Ridicule.
Someone had rightly said that ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool. To poke fun at others is no sign of good breeding and is rather abusive in nature. Ridiculing the weakness of others and mocking at your lesser, feebler mates is indeed contemptuous. – Unknown
# 9. Underestimate.
Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. – General George S. Patton
# 10. Yell.
Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. – Rumi
And my favorite one:
No matter the size of your title or the scale of your organization, the bigger the title, the greater the person behind it must be. – My father.
My advice to managers: If you want to become an admired and well-respected leader, make sure you do not do unto your people any of the ten things listed above.
My advice to companies: If you want to become a well-respected institution, start by instilling a solid culture based on humanistic values and beliefs, and make it applicable to everyone in the organization, top to bottom, without exceptions.
My advice to the victims: Stand up for your rights. Document and report the abuse to more senior managers and HR, as well as to your local authorities if necessary. If your company tolerates this sort of behavior, it may be time to move on and find a better place to work.
The so-called and critical employee engagement starts with the respect you show for your employees. Do not allow a bully flush human capital down the toilet and get away unpunished.
Let´s wrap it all up with one more great quote:
Some people bring out the worst in you; others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive that you’d follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix. – Karen Marie Moning
I hope you enjoyed the reading. If so, don´t forget to click on “Like” and share it with others who may find it useful.
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Jordi is the Managing Principal Consultant at Key Strategic Chain Solutions, a management consulting firm specializing in Executive Coaching, Organizational Strategy and Portfolio Management.