I was reading a column in one of the leading newspapers where I reside written by Carole Spiers on June 27th. Her opening lines were “Treat others as you would want them to treat you! How many times do we hear this being said? We say it to our children and hope they will remember it for the rest of their lives. We all know that to earn respect, we must first give respect. Respect is one of the foundation stones of a healthy relationship but very often it is not recognized as being essential.”
Treat others as you would want them to treat you!
Carole Spiers writes her column in the Business Pages as one of the distinguished commentators and analysts of the paper. she is a BBC guest broadcaster and motivational speaker. She is CEO of an international stress management consultancy and her new book, ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’ is available at many good bookshops.
Her words are not new to me, I learned them at a very young age from another woman who brought me into this world and raised me singlehandedly till it was time for me to live in the real world with people who were raised in many different ways. She was a role model for me, she practiced what she preached. No doubt about it, she was a leader and she led by example. Back then I couldn’t figure out why she would even treat with respect people she had been arguing with at the office.
Admiration and respect of our peers.
Carole read four studies undertaken by the University of Berkeley which showed that the admiration and respect of our peers have a greater bearing on our overall happiness in life than our bank balance or the status of being rich. So, if we help someone feel valued and treat them with respect, then why don’t we? We all know the good feeling we experience when we feel respected.
Now back to why I’m writing this. It’s because my experience in the recent and far past has been the opposite when seen as the backdrop of my relationship with some of my superiors. The last one I had always shakes my hand when we meet, greets me and asks how I’m doing, emails me with words like your efforts are appreciated when some achievement has been attained.
Is it different with superiors?
But I came to realize towards the end of my employment, he had actually been scheming to remove me from my post so he could appoint somebody else and revise the whole department. By then it was too late, I had taken him at face value. I was unprepared for the ‘massacre’ that ensued, he sacked in a space of four months seven people, one after the other. Eventually he didn’t own up to the sackings, it was conveniently attributed to a committee he formed.
All the admiration and the respect of the past four years were swept under the carpet as if they didn’t exist at all. Consequently, I’ve lost all the good feelings I had all these years especially when one considers many of the employees had families to support and their spouses were on the family way.
So the questions that I ask are
- Are the University of Berkely and Carole wrong within this context
- Did she write the article to include superiors
- Were my ‘supeeriors’ my peers or were they my enemy
- Is a young executive more likely to be a friendly enemy than an older one
- To go up the corporate ladder, is it unimportant to be sincere with one’s words and actions
- Is there any sense at being loyal to one’s employer and superiors
- Would a confrontational style have been better
- Is there any need to treat subordinates with dignity and mean it