ESSENTIAL RELATIONSHIP VALUES IN BUSINESS
thinking about managing a
company, one usually thinks of the business end of operations. This concept is largely
managers responsible for the financial well-being, success, or
viability of the
organization. In fact, the term 'business' has the connotation of
financial outcomes are
common indicators of successful companies. However, striving hard for a
bottom line has too often inspired dispassionate, results-driven
concept of customer service outcomes is sometimes disconnected from
in the minds of managers.
financial goals and relationship values is not deliberate. In the business world,
there can be very
distinct differences in the roles and motivations of various managers
employees within a company. Some
by providing quality services or quality products to customers. Others are focused on
of operations, and financial results.
concept that, many times,
becomes detached from financial success is that employees (people) are
heart and soul of every business. This is true whether they are
services, manufacturing goods, selling merchandise, or managing company
operations. In many
ways, employees are
customers of the company, too. Instead
of buying products or services, staff is “buying-into” the company's
the company’s ways of conducting business.
main point in this article is
that employees (people) of the company and their interpersonal values
quality of services and products.
who value courtesy, compassion, and integrity produce better services
products for the company; therefore, financial success is more likely
of customer satisfaction and increased business.
above narrative isn’t meant
to imply that companies primarily focusing on the financial end of
produce quality services or products.
Many companies have systems in place to manage
quality, as well as
financial outcomes. I
that fostering the values of courtesy, compassion, and integrity within
company produces even better business results.
I am not implying that good
fiscal management is not important. Sound financial management is
a business to sustain its operations, develop better products, and
a balance between
financial outcomes and company-employee values is challenging. Maintaining desirable
company values, while
trying to run a financially efficient business, involves developing a
that promotes relationship values, as well as business values.
that relegate employees
and customers to the position of financial statistics eventually suffer. When this occurs, most
compassion, and integrity are also being relegated to a low priority or
excluded entirely. Companies
integrate their financial goals with value oriented goals in order to
and produce quality services or products to their customers.
remainder of this article
talks about what I consider to be three essential values that foster
business practices. Throughout
article, I refer to these values as either interpersonal values or
values. The terms
are interchangeable in
my thinking. These
three values affect
the dynamics between people working together and largely determine the
of company relationships, both internally and externally.
the end of the article I visit
the concept of trust as it relates to the values discussed and talk
about the impact of trust upon effective work teams.
have chosen courtesy as the
first tenet in the list of what I consider good business values. Courtesy is a gesture
between people. Cooperation between humans is a very old trait. It was much more necessary
for our survival
in early tribal living than it is now.
our current culture, there are
few consequences for individuals who exist outside of the bounds of
and respectful behavior. That is why we are likely to experience
in our day-to-day encounters with others. These encounters are not
limited to inconsiderate
drivers or rude sales clerks; they often occur at work, where many of
interactions take place.
is a prime indicator of
how well people work together in a company. Courtesy fosters
cooperation is necessary for a healthy work environment and successful
can be observed
throughout companies that are considered to be good places for people
where employees and
managers exhibit courtesy between one another also demonstrate courtesy
their customers. Customers
want to see
quality in the services and products for which they pay hard earned
courtesy toward customers shows
interest in their needs and desires.
are more likely to feel satisfied with a service or product if they are
with courtesy, dignity, and respect.
is symbolic of mutual
respect between people. It
reflects our relationship
skills. When people
are treated with
courtesy, a feeling of dignity is generated that makes most people want
reciprocate. In the
means better teamwork, increased productivity, and higher quality
is contagious. Conversely,
disrespect is also
tend to follow our
perception of relationships. If
relationship is one of mutual courtesy and respect, we have positive
toward the person. If
is perceived as disrespectful, rude, or discourteous, our feelings
other person are negative, our desire to be cooperative wanes, and
of courtesy between workers
is a symptom of companies where managers don’t recognize the value of
employees. As a result, there is staff dissatisfaction and a high rate
Of course, dissatisfied staff also produce inferior work and products.
Compassion is the
value that I consider essential to good business management. Many of the same
reciprocal concepts hold
true for compassion as for courtesy.
environments with a dearth of compassion, employees find themselves
their own gains. Lack
between managers and employees generates an atmosphere of apathy that
the quality of work.
one works in an environment
lacking interpersonal compassion, he or she becomes self-focused, goals
self-serving, and concern for the feelings of others is irrelevant. Stepping on someone else’s
fingers to reach a
higher rung on the company ladder or diminishing another’s image to
make one’s own
image appear larger demonstrates personal lack of empathy and
behaviors indicate values that are the
antithesis of interpersonal compassion.
decisions must be made for the good of the company.
These decisions are not necessarily lacking
compassion but, rather, exist for the good of the whole - the good of
many. They are not
they are regretful.
is a feeling in response
to the well-being of another person.
is a complex response that may include a variety of feelings: sadness,
happiness, joy, and many others. It
essence, compassion is recognizing the feeling state of another human
identifying the same feelings in oneself, and responding accordingly
would like to be treated). Compassion
often related to personal experiences in similar situations, but it is
sometimes a projection of how one might
feel if in another person's place.
self-serving managers and the lack interest in others that accompanies
behaviors. Employees also recognize compassionate managers, even in
where bad news is delivered. I have known employees who, in spite of
laid-off, understood and recognized the compassion of the manager who
the devastating news.
is a word that is often
thought of as a character trait. If
have integrity, I possess values
thus, I have good qualities. I
expand this definition of integrity to include some behavioral
as I refer to it, is a
reflection of people
accordance with their ethical beliefs.
other words, integrity is the observable quality of a person’s beliefs;
values are demonstrated through their behaviors. In the work place,
be observed in managers whose values are clear and manifested in the
which they manage operations and employees.
companies publish lofty
values in mission statements or in their goals and objectives. Many times,
these display values are not seen
in action by company employees. Employees
are quick to recognize when
managers and companies lack integrity and don’t “practice what they
means not only
stating your values, but also demonstrating those values in day-to-day
harboring managers with
poor integrity usually do not demonstrate their enounced values through
quality of their products or services.
probably know of at least one business with which you have had a
experience, in spite of their advertising. Take a look at the many
promoting “highest quality” standards for their products and customer
consumer reviews show us that the company sales pitch often doesn’t
product or service quality.
are often promoted through
company human resources departments.
Policies and procedures are published to
reflect the laws of the land and
the standards of the organization.
managers do not always support these values, neither in their thinking
example, most companies
pronounce support of a harassment free work environment, yet some
sexual relationships between managers and employees.
Others condone the use of quick paths of
advancement through sexual relationships and favors.
is a measure of how
individual employees and companies, as a whole, behave in relation to
stated business ethics. It
is the “walk
that follows the talk.”
end this article with some
final thoughts about trust. Trust
a relationship value in itself. Trust
a feeling that evolves as a result of interactions and behaviors
that demonstrate positive relationship values.
Trust, in other words, is a byproduct of
consistent demonstration of ethical
who are courteous,
compassionate, and show integrity in their beliefs, words, and
usually perceived as trustworthy.
enter into trusting relationships with others and work well in teams. In business, trust is a
prerequisite to good
teams do not function
well in environments where trust between individuals and groups is low.
is a feeling of safety
(emotional and physical) regarding our relationship with another
a group of individuals.
In work teams,
distrust between group members may be caused by many things, mostly
experiences with other members. The
development of trust (or lack of trust) can be easily related to the
discussed in this article.
significant destroyer of trust
is discourteous behavior. We
tend not to
trust people who are rude to us, especially when they embarrass us in
peers or make us look bad in front of others.
Those who “speak their mind,” without
considering the feelings of
others, evoke feelings of mistrust.
Sometimes, coworkers who pride themselves on
saying what is on their
mind, view such behavior as a badge of their assertiveness. This misconceived behavior
is perceived as
discourteous and untrustworthy behavior by those with whom they work. Discourteousness impairs
closely related trust
destroyer is lack of compassion. The
degree of compassion demonstrated to others affects relationships
and the performance of work teams. Trust of another person is largely
by our perceived safety in relation to that individual.
People lacking in compassion for others don’t
feel safe to us and, therefore, not trustworthy.
a person who is
perceived as “self-serving” is usually thought of as untrustworthy. Self-serving people are
generally not very compassionate
and can easily step on other people while seeking to satisfy their own
who are interested in
furthering their own agenda or building their sense of importance
so to the detriment of others. The
focused we are on our own work, our own advancement, and our own
the company, the less we recognize the feelings and needs of others.
perceived as lacking
integrity also are not considered trustworthy.
If a coworker sees that someone’s behaviors
are not guided by their
values, that person is usually not trusted.
of integrity is likely to be
perceived as a form of lying. Sometimes
it is subtle in nature, other times it is quite obvious. The Native American line
in old western
movies, “you speak with forked tongue,” is a very good description of
one who lacks
is interesting that so many
managers do not “practice what they preach.”
Integrity deficits are one of the easiest for
does more to damage
the reputation of a manager than being seen as lacking integrity.
article presented some
concepts about interpersonal values as they relate to business
lacking in courtesy, compassion,
and integrity also find themselves lacking in other important areas,
employee satisfaction and retention, quality of services and products,
customer satisfaction and return business.
These factors all influence the financial
viability of the business,
whether it is small or very large.
you work for a large company
or a small business, your values can impact those around you. The values and behaviors
of each person, in
combination with those of others, construct the culture of the work
integrity are contagious. Even
work cultures can be infiltrated by these positive values. When you model them in
your work habits,
others will begin to see the benefits and incorporate them into theirs.
up, courtesy, compassion,
and integrity are all personal characteristics that build trust. Trust is essential for
effective teams. Effective
teams build successful companies.