Why The Lack Of Respect Is Destroying Your Work Life Balance

A few years ago, when I was still slogging it out in the corporate world, I lost it with one of my boss’s peers. I was perimenopausal, hormones were raging and I just could not keep a tight lid on my emotions any longer. I let rip! Was it unprofessional? Absolutely, but it was human. I had been busting my little behind to achieve the unachievable and instead of being met with gratitude and recognition, I ran into politics and was being patronised and disrespected by my boss’s peers and I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I let rip. Luckily, my boss was a decent human being and took his colleague to task on my behalf.

Now I was lucky with this incident and I wouldn’t recommend it as a course of action for anyone being disrespected at work, if you want to keep your job and climb up the greasy pole of the corporate ladder. That said, research from the Harvard Business Review shows that half of employees don’t feel respected by their employers. I know that it is cold comfort knowing that you are not alone but it gets worse.

It turns out that lack of respect has the biggest negative effect on employee outcomes. Employees that were lucky enough to feel respected reported:

  • 56% better health and wellbeing
  • 1.72 times more trust and safety
  • 89% greater enjoyment and job satisfaction
  • 92% better focus and ability to prioritise
  • 1.26 times more meaning and significance
  • 55% more engaged
  • 1.1 times more likely to stay with their employer

20000 people took part in this research so it is a very big sample and deserves to be taken seriously and I hope HR departments all over the globe are paying attention. Rather than putting in fancy initiatives to improve employee retention which as we all know is still way cheaper than bringing in new resources and training them, how about getting your leaders to show some respect?

When employees are disrespected and I don’t know the gender breakdown of the survey’s respondents, I can bet my bottom dollar that women are more disrespectful than men. When it comes to the perpetrators of this lack of respect, simply by the fact that there are more men in senior positions than women, then the perpetrators will be more men. Why does this matter? It matters because women, particularly mothers, tend to be at the centre of a lot of people’s lives so when their health, wellbeing, and ability to focus and prioritise is affected, the same thing happens to their children as well. 

So what started off as one rude and perhaps arrogant boss at work, affects a child’s ability to concentrate in class because he/she is worried about his stressed mum who is perimenopausal and losing her hair. I am not being dramatic here, this is exactly what happened to me and I have written a whole book about my trials and tribulations as a working mother.

I am pleased that there is now research and figures to support the effect of lack of respect in the workplace and the cost to organisations. But for me, the cost to the wider society is far, far bigger than the bottom line of any organisation. My question to those suffering lack of respect and putting up with it is; what are you going to do about it? It might take your HR department a lifetime to effect the change in culture. In the meantime, are you going to subject your children to the stressed out underperforming version of you?

To the organisations and individuals inflicting this lack of respect on others, it doesn’t cost anything to treat your fellow human beings regardless of gender, race and class with respect. Do the right thing.!

If you want to find out how to get yourself out of this disempowered state, you can book a call with me here.