Author: Steve Deighton
Outside of serving in the military or exchanging vows in a wedding ceremony, there are few points in our lives where we acknowledge honor as a value. This is particularly evident in the workplace.
Before we look at this further, let’s define what we mean by honor. Our old standby Webster defines honor as “a good name or public esteem; showing of usually merited respect.” The interesting part of this definition is “showing of usually merited respect.” This requires action from two parties. First, it requires doing something right; secondly, it requires being recognized and respected for doing the right thing. This starts with clearly communicating what the right things are for an employee to follow. What values does the organization espouse? Does every employee know what they are? Does every employee have the ability to do the right thing for the business, the customers, and their own employment?
During a recent training session we conducted for an honored client in Dallas, we shared the concept of putting honor back into the workplace as a basis for building trust and commitment, which leads to cohesiveness in team development and growth. The leaders in the session understood the need to hold the other person in high esteem, to respect them, to put the other person’s status above their own, allowing for a better connection and mind-set for working through tough issues. The result of following an honor-based workplace is a team that is more engaged, tends to be more open, operates with greater integrity and trust, and ultimately achieves better results by working interdependently toward a common goal.
Conversely, the absence of honor in the workplace leads to a more compliance driven environment, lacking trust and confidence in others to do the right thing when the situation arises. This raises a wall of control domination in the workplace, causing employees to retreat into a bubble of indifference.
The last thing any CEO or business owner wants is employees who strive for mediocrity because they don’t know what to do to be better; or worse, they are not recognized and honored for their work when they try to be better. Putting honor back in the work place starts at the top; it must be well communicated and well adhered to from every manager to every employee. It is a sought after trait in new hires, and it defines a culture which is attractive, promotes success, and is held in high esteem by all.