I am still fascinated by the results of the study mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, which allows us to establish that there is only one variable in predicting with 95% accuracy the future breakup of a couple. That variable is contempt. If one or both feels contempt for the other, there is no way the relationship will work.
Contempt is one of the most serious expressions of disrespect and has many manifestations. When Gutenberg invented the printing press, it ended the privileges of the few who could acquire books and knowledge. Those who knew how to read or could access books despised those who remained ignorant, and they did little to share knowledge. That is why people say that the printing press democratized knowledge.
Today, for example, the technology of a smartphone has given all of us equally the ability to access information and knowledge without distinction of social class, age, educational level, ethnicity or origin.
If in one of its multiple definitions, “democratizing” means that a large number of people have access to something.
“Respect” is synonymous with consideration and special appreciation, with recognition. Together, “democratizing respect” would make consideration and appreciation accessible to many. In other words, to democratize respect would be to respect all equally without distinction of economic power, hierarchical level, power, title, contractual status, age, or any other discriminatory barrier in a given society. Respect should not be selective or conditioned as unfortunately it is today.
This theory can also be applied to professional relationships as well.
A challenge that I see every day is for organizations — even many of the most successful and those ranking highly as the most attractive places to work — to respect all of their workers equally, regardless of whether they are managers, executives, professionals, employees, hired workers, young interns or people with seniority. Respect in selection, training, development, layoffs, or outplacement processes as well as good labor practices in general must be the same for all workers alike, regardless of the type of employment contract that sets their hierarchical level in the organization.
To democratize respect would be to respect all equally without distinction of economic power, hierarchical level, power, title … or any other discriminatory barrier. ”
— Ines Temple, CEO LHH DBM Peru & LHH Chile share
As leaders who take care of our personal brand, we must take up this challenge. To treat all those around us with the same respect — without any distinction — is a definite example of who we really are. Like everything in life, we cannot expect something for ourselves unless we bestow it first, generously, and without prejudice, distinctions, or contempt of any kind. It is only in this way that relations with others will flow positively, thus enhancing our own reputation.
For example, today’s leaders from successful companies are choosing to show their respect by investing in individuals from all levels of the organization, and not just only in top talents or in top level executives. To invest in individuals who for years have invested in them. The people who walk through their doors every day ready to embrace new challenges and ready to meet new demands. With this shift in thinking comes also a new definition of ROI: return on individuals.
A return on individuals (ROI) is a long-term investment for organizations that will increase productivity and boost morale. It will arm workers with the skills they need to compete wherever they go — the corner office, a new floor or a new company — and it will say to the outside world that you’re investing in your company’s greatest resource and the planet’s people,
Let’s democratize respect in our organizations!