Years ago, a friend received some brilliant leadership advice from a mentor. The mentor said, “How you treat people today becomes conversation around their dinner table tonight.”

Today, it’s not just dinner table conversations that leaders need to be aware of. It’s and social media platforms where examples of great or lousy leadership efforts go viral with just a click!

As a culture geek, I’m constantly asking people what their company’s work culture is like. People are surprised that I’m interested – and they tell me their perceptions.

Last week I asked a member of a health and wellness company what their work culture is like. She responded immediately. She said:

“Our company rocks! I have worked here since the fall of 2019.
We are an awesome team of friends. Everyone truly cares about everyone else.
We all put our heart and soul into our work each day.
We do what it takes each day because we believe in the products, our customers’ experiences all matter, and we enjoy helping others help themselves.
When challenges arrive… we roll up our sleeves and work together to solve problems together.”

That’s a powerful testimonial to a purposeful, positive, productive work culture. And stories about culture like this are far too rare.

Employees—of all generations—desire and deserve workplaces where they are respected and validated for their ideas, efforts, and contributions, every day.

Most business leaders do not see their job as creating a respectful workplace. They see their job was creating a productive workplace.

Leaders today don’t pay attention to the degree to which their work cultures demean, discount, and dismiss employees’ ideas, efforts, and accomplishments.

To most leaders, employees’ need for respect, validation, and recognition of their contributions is not important. The only thing that matters is results.

The reality is that when team members feel respected and validated at work, engagement goes up by 40%, customer service goes up by 40%, and results and profits go up by 35%.

Every leader that hears these numbers perks up at the results gains!

The trick is that results don’t come first. Respect drives engagement which drives service which drives results.

Respect must come first. Learn more at

This is episode ninety-seven of my Culture Leadership Charge video series. In these concise videos, I share the best practices for creating and sustaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture – where good comes first.

You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. If you like what you learn, please subscribe.

Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions. It’ll take less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: Good Comes First (2021) and The Culture Engine (2014).
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