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The Respectful Leader by Walter G. Meyer, Gregg Ward

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11 Turning It Around at Work

Des returned to COR-Med a man on a mission. During his vacation, he’d met another CEO—someone just like him in age, temperament, and experience—who’d had very similar challenges and issues at his own company. He’d overcome them, and now his company was thriving. When Des pressed him for the secret to how he’d done it, how he’d turned everything around, the CEO replied that he had simply realized that being a total jerk, yelling and cursing at people, and giving them ultimatums just wasn’t working: that he needed to treat everyone with respect regardless of who they were; that he needed to hold everyone accountable for disrespectful behavior; and that he needed, perhaps more than anything, to feel that he was behaving like a decent human being. “For me,” he said, “It was all about just choosing to be respectful.” He added that, because he’d changed his attitude and behaviors, not only did he feel like he’d turned everything around for the better at his company, but that his personal life—his own sense of well-being—was far better than ever before.

Des was stunned at how simple it all seemed. After considering how he could do that at COR-Med, he asked the CEO whether he’d be willing to meet again, to talk more about what he’d done and how he’d done it. Instead, the CEO gave him the name and number of a consultant and executive coach who was an expert on respect. Des immediately called the consultant and, after a brief conversation, hired them.

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