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Quick Tip for Building a Culture of Respect

"My Favorite Parisian Waiter" by  Christina CampisiDear Reader,

Since my last post, “It’s all about culture”, I’ve been asked several times “What does ‘build a culture of respect’ mean?” I realised that the post, while well meaning, was incomplete. It told you why you should build a culture of respect, but it did not give you any advice on how to build one.

I’ve blogged about some of my ideas on team building in “Nerd Herding”. Start by reading that and take from it what you will.

The tough truth is that there is no easy answer. Building a culture of respect means that when you get up every morning you start thinking of ways to improve the lives of your developers.

Here is a simple idea to get you started

Make a pot of coffee. Now walk around to each developer asking if you can refill their coffee. (Don’t forget the cream and sugar)

Do not say “Wonderful idea! I’ll have my assistant to that every day”. If you do, you are missing the point. The point is not to make sure developers are working in a caffeine fueled fog. The point is to show your developers that you respect what they are doing so much that you will sacrifice some of your time to make sure they are taken care of.

Don’t do it once, do it every day. Do it with a smile. If appropriate, take the time to chat with each developer about their life, kids, SO, hobbies. Don’t just pretend to be interested in them, BE INTERESTED IN THEM.

Depending on the size of your team, this exercise could take 10 minutes or it could take an hour. Regardless of how long it takes you, do it. Do it today, do it tomorrow, do it every day next week, do it for the rest of the month. Do it every day until you understand why this is important.

At that point – that moment when you begin to understand why small and seemingly insignificant actions like a manager bringing someone a cup of coffee are important – you will understand “Culture of Respect”. Your team will never be the same again.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Photo credit: “My Favorite Parisian Waiter” by Christina Campisi

5 thoughts on “Quick Tip for Building a Culture of Respect

  1. One of my favorite parts of the day is taking an afternoon break with the rest of my team and making some good french press coffee so this one hit pretty close to home. We all get to step away for 15 minutes and just shoot the shit, after doing this for months I can’t agree more with this advice.

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