Before the Apartheid government figured out how to oppress the people and separate us, a black family lived opposite my family. Their two daughters were about the same ages as my sister and I and we were best friends.

Whenever we went to their house to play, we would always have to go and greet the matriarch, their Gogo or grandmother. Respect was shown in their Southern Sotho culture by sitting down immediately when before a person of higher status. We were ignorant of this, because our culture taught that you do not sit until invited to do so. We had to be told to dula faatse – sit down. I learned to respond to this phrase as a command and whenever I heard it, I obeyed immediately.

It is the only phrase in Sesotho that I remember and I remember the lesson on being respectful.

How is respect shown in your line of work?

How is respect shown for superiors, customers and peers?

How does your respectfulness translate in e-mails, text messages and phone calls?

Good teamwork is based on mutual respect. Without respect morale declines and enthusiasm for the company and its’ mission crumbles.

We hear a lot about inclusion and diversity. All that is about is respect. Good leaders know how to engender a culture of mutual respect and regard for everyone. I help managers to find ways to build respect on their teams, no matter how culturally different their team members are. Respect is the oil that makes the wheels of business success turn.

Contact me if you want to learn ways to improve your teams’ ability to work together.

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