The Flawed Social Contract

Imagine: You nip to the loo in an office building you’re visiting for the first time. After washing your hands, you look into the mirror and what do you see? A see-through sticker with white writing.

‘Bullying. Let’s Cut It Out’

Five simple words. Words that send so many alarm bells ringing. Who let the bullies in? Are they still here? Which teams do they work in? Do people take notice of the message? What difference does that one sticker make?

That’s when I notice there are more stickers running along the wall of mirrors, each aligned above a corresponding sink so you can’t ignore the problem. Or so you would think.

Cultural or Cuisine Differences?

It’s lunchtime. I ask about the stickers as I tuck into the tasty weekly Indian meal. It turns out most people around the table don’t really know what bullying means. So I change my question to one of the developers.

‘Does Candy respect you?’ I venture, bold and plain as the nose on my face.
She’s nice. She answers my questions about requirements,’ he replies with a tired but sincere smile.

I meet Candy for the first time that afternoon. Candy’s friendly enough. She smiles back, teeth clenched.

Communication without respect is worse than not communicating at all

In my experience, respect is the hardest value of all to live by, partly because you have to dig extra deep as it forms the foundation for the other four values. The main reason it’s the toughest to live by is because it’s usually the first thing that most people abandon when the going gets tough.

What does respect mean to you? How would you rate yourself in terms of respect on a scale of 0 – 5 from lowest to highest? Respect begins by recognising, appreciating then leveraging the value each individual brings to a team. How would your team rate you on the scale of respect?

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