Listen and understand before you seek to be understood...


I like food that is simple and straight-forward – being able to identify and taste each of a meal’s ingredients. Likewise, I like simple and straight-forward company policies – ones that are understandable and create a workplace of mutual respect and trust. Because that’s what employees expect and appreciate.  So, consider this: it’s contradictory to have an employment-at-will policy that states the company can terminate an employee for no reason AND an employee handbook that states the company will follow progressive discipline and due process in all terminations. That’s muddled and inconsistent. Or this: we (the company) want you to be comfortable working here and commit to a workplace based on trust and respect AND our employment-at-will policy states that management doesn’t have to explain its actions. If you never have, nor never will terminate an employee for no reason, then why have this policy. Especially if it erodes an employee’s sense of security AND makes them feel like management can’t be trusted. Leaders should look at their values and goals and assess if those are consistent and aligned with their policies and practices. If they want employees to trust and respect them then they have to act in a trustworthy and respectful manner. I think that’s another way to say the Golden Rule. Leaders should say what they mean and mean what they say. That’s how to create trust and respect and a sense of security in the workplace today.

Alice Waters (born 1944): American chef, restaurateur, activist and author.