Can We Raise the “Respect Limit” in Our Workplace? The Transition from “Me” to “We”

Collaboration Community Respect


There was much that disturbed all of America about the debt ceiling debate. But perhaps what distressed many of us the most was the feeling that making the decision that was best for the country was secondary to the “my way or the highway” mentality that permeated much of the debate. Additionally, dialogue over issues seemed to be overshadowed by personal attack. Those of us who have been part of functional families and organizations know that individuality and the ability to express needs, wants, and feelings is important. We also know that “we-ness” allows for the “me” to express itself, but that agreeing to disagree is ok too. What is not ok is when the “me” becomes “look out for number one” ONLY and the agenda between members becomes poisoned by manipulation and distrust.

The US culture is fiercely autonomous and independent. These values are fundamental to the creativity and industrious nature of the famous “American way.” To move a company (or country for that matter) forward, success is more around applying the spirit of inclusiveness and expansion. This philosophy is different than everyone agreeing and seeing everything the same way. It can and should accommodate individualism. It is also much different than, “My way is the only right way because I believe it is so, and screw everyone else.”

Character Move:

  1. Self assess how much room you have for the view of others in your work place.
  2. How effective are people at constructively attacking issues instead of each other (or other departments)?
  3. What tools like STP* are in place to help that dialogue?
  4. How often is the focus on “me” versus “we”? Listen to the words that people use in their communication? Is it for the greater good?

We don’t want to raise the debt limits in our companies if we can avoid it. But I believe we could all benefit from raising the respect limit!

Raising the Respect Limit in the Triangle,


* STP – Situation – Target – Proposal