"Are you kidding me?"
That was my initial response to this senior leader sharing about a recent leadership team meeting. The content of the meeting is not what was so incredulous to me. It was the blatant lack of respect for him that was demonstrated by one of his leaders. While differing opinions is essential to the success of any team, how we share those opinions is just as important. It appears that we are losing the ability to show respect when we disagree with others.
You only have to sign in to your social media outlet to see the plethora of disrespect spewed by those hiding behind their computer screens or mobile devices. Listen to any news outlet and hear the total lack of respect for our country, its leaders, and any one who has a different opinion than that of the producing broadcast. This is not a political leaning; this is a result of a culture that has lost its way. Somewhere we have bought into the lie that people really don't matter. The person is less valuable than the agenda or issue at hand.
Where is the discipline of practicing mutual respect while in the midst of debate and disagreement? Where did we learn that if we think it we should say, text, tweet, or broadcast it? Where is our ability to speak the truth with thoughtful insight instead of with venom? We have reduced our conversations to what we think in the moment and thus have reduced people to a label that only fits our opinion of them in that instance. In this environment of instant gratification, we constantly make instant judgments and then explode those thoughts in the closest outlet.
Respect is the foundation for leadership. It is time we begin to hold ourselves and those within our circle of influence accountable to reclaim the lost art of being respectful to others. It should drive our meetings, our communication, and our relationships. It is a choice.
Have the courage to lead with respect for others and you will make a difference.