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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Eye of the World - Chapters 51, 52 & 53 [#100Days, Day 33]

R - E - S - P - E - C - T

"Good to see you alive, sheepherder," Lan said gruffly.  "I see you hung onto your sword.  Maybe you'll learn to use it, now."  Rand felt a sudden burst of affection for the Warder; Lan knew, but on the surface at least, nothing had changed.  He thought that perhaps, for Lan, nothing had changed inside either."
Rand and Lan, The Eye of the World, p. 646

    A tiny thing, but extremely important and meaningful: treating everyone with absolute respect.  Egwene and Nynaeve, people Rand has known his entire life, drew back when they found out he is doomed to insanity from wielding the One Power.  Lan, on the other hand, simply gives the same sort of off-hand remark he's been giving in the brief time they've traveled together.  

    Treating everyone with respect seems like it should be well understood and left unsaid; yet there are plenty of leaders in organizations who fail at this very basic act of humanity.  A significant driver of such unacceptable behavior is the constant demand for results.  Be it sales numbers, on time delivery metrics, revenue and earnings statistics, the easy road is to drive the organization mercilessly.  I ran into this at my company.  Shortly after taking over, our QA department issued some findings on internal assessments.  My team frantically tried to prove how it wasn't their fault, how the blame should be cast somewhere else, how they'd been following the processes.  There was a line outside my office of people ready to apologize and deflect blame.  Although I was stunned (and confused as to why they were so adamant about proving it wasn't their fault), I gave no hint of emotion at all; I simply talked to my team leads.  I let them know the results weren't damning and that we should view them as an opportunity to figure out how to improve our processes.  It was quite the dialogue over a couple months.  One day, one of the team leads told me a story of  when he was a young supervisor and a similar instance of poor internal assessment results came in: his supervisor at the time went ballistic.  Flipped into a complete rage; screaming, yelling and publicly humiliating him.  That's when it clicked for me - this team was terrified something similar would happen.  In the end, my team lead left in a sort of disbelief that I wasn't particularly fazed at all by the results.  I'm still baffled as to how someone can think it's perfectly acceptable to treat other human beings in such a fashion.  But it happens.  And, unfortunately, it usually gets results and a promotion.


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