Respect is one of those must-haves in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what age you are. Respect should be shown for our work done, words spoken, and capabilities shown. Without respect, good attitudes fade and questions arise: Should I leave? Do I weather the storm?

Financial viability enters the picture. Individuals need to have a sound financial base. In a recent Forbes article entitled “10 Reasons Strong Personal Finances Are Critical to Your Professional Career,” the reasons standout clearly. A sound financial foundation is so important yet it is alwayRespect in Workplaces a challenge to do, especially starting out in a new career. However, when asking the two previous questions, without a financial foundation, the questions turn to: Can I afford to leave? How long do I have to weather the storm?

The Balance of Respect and Financial Viability

Respect and financial viability are tied together in the answers. Having the financial base enables us to be more confident in our attitudes and it enables us to walk away if respect dissipates. Now, I am not advocating job-hopping or leaving when the going gets tough. We always need to try to change from within, whether it is as individual leaders or organizations in which we work. We owe it to ourselves to try. We owe it to the larger organizational mission to make the effort.

In trying, we learn. We gain experiences on how to turn organizations around and enlighten leaders on how to lead differently. We need to give our best efforts in all we do.

At times, unfortunately, there is too much momentum or history to try to facilitate a change. We may not have the position to do it. We may become worn out in trying. In these times, especially when respect is lacking, we need to move on and financial viability is an enabler.

Disrespect:  When Is Enough Enough?

Respect comes in many ways. Three key areas are in our individual identity, our work, and our ideas. When certain lines are crossed, it may be time to leave, and preparation is key.

Respect as an individual.

Exhibiting integrity and character is essential in all we do and say. It is evident in our interactions and in our follow through. If we are asked to do or say things that disrespect others or go against the grain of our core beliefs, then enough is enough.

Planning steps to consider: When personal respect is involved, the decision to leave can happen quickly. There will be red flags so be prepared. You will need to have your track record defined and your transitional story ready.

Respect in work done.

Delivering high quality, timely results is a necessity. It is a reflection on us. If our deliverables are always given credit to someone else, then a line may be crossed. Team work is vital but so is getting recognized, even in small ways, for the quality of our work.

Our role on teams and in organizations should be based on mutual trust, where our voice is heard and valued. In a trust-filled give-and-take, the best results unfold. When this trust is broken continuously and intentionally, enough is enough.

Planning steps to consider: You need to have defined metrics and evidence of how you achieved them. Your track record must be proven, and collaborative work needs to be corroborated. References will need to be ready to vouch for the value of your participation in team interactions and outcomes.

Respect in perspective and ideas.

In our work, we need to be creative and innovative in our approach. At times, the work just needs to get done and, other times, we need to show new ways to change the game and enhance the results. If our ideas are ignored or taken for granted, enough is enough.

Planning steps to consider: You need to be able to demonstrate how your ideas worked and what the adoption proved. It is a record of creativity in thinking and innovation in how or what is done.

Disrespect Intensity

When to leave or not may depend on a degree of seriousness and length of repeated occurrences. Loss of personal respect will drive decisions more quickly than others. When more than one area deteriorates over time, a decision may unfold more deliberately. In most cases, it will be a judgment call. We need to be mindful in our approach and decision.

As Dr. Marla Gottschalk pointed out in a recent article:

“One factor which is often a silent contributor to this decision, is the status of the psychological contract that exists between ourselves and our employer. Often, the inevitability of leaving, may have actually been cast long before the final decision to pull up roots has been made – as the very core of the employer-employee relationship has already been significantly damaged. The damage occurs when we have been let down in some way – or perceive that a promise has not been fulfilled.”

There is a contract, and both parties have a responsibility. When this falters, changing from within is the first step, and leaving should be the last one (in most cases).

Financial: When Is Enough Enough?

And, now we come back to finances. Having a reasonable financial base makes career transitions more manageable. There may be many different rules of thumb. Most would likely say at least six months of a financial safety is required; you might want twelve, especially in economically challenging times. Other factors may include:

  • Is a move required?
  • What job opportunities are available?
  • Is this the time to start an entrepreneurial endeavor?

Answers to these questions may drive having a more solid financial foundation in place before making a move.

Respect is earned. Retaining our respect requires a sound financial base to use when work environments turn disrespectful. Having the financial wherewithal keeps us centered in self-confidence and self-respect.

How do you measure respect in the workplace? What advice do you give when someone needs to move on because of a lack of respect?