People like when their leaders respect them. An entrepreneur can make employees feel valuable by doing things such as listening to them, acknowledging what they contribute, and respecting their time. Treating people with respect seems obvious, but it’s something with which a business may struggle. Between all the projects and problems that come up when running a business, it’s possible to lose sight of what and who is important.

This is why organizations should make leading with civility a priority. Making sure your employees feel valued and respected helps them perform better, be more creative, and detect and correct mistakes more easily, and reduces emotional exhaustion. This is what Doug Conant, a former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, realized when he took over the company in 2001. Here’s what he did to turn the business around and bring civility to the office space.

Setting Expectations for Himself and Others

Campbell Soup Company wasn’t in good shape when Conant took over. The company had lost half of its market value, sales were declining, there were a lot of layoffs, and the overall toxic environment made employee engagement difficult to achieve. Conant decided to set better expectations, starting with himself. He and his leadership team created The Campbell Promise — “Campbell valuing people. People valuing Campbell.”— to demonstrate his plans for the company and show he put people first. He also developed a 10-point pledge to his senior leadership that guaranteed he’d conduct himself with integrity and honor, and treat others with respect and dignity. These measures made it clear civility in the office space was important to him, and these were the first steps in transforming the company.

Identify the Best Practices to Put Into Place

Once expectations were set, Conant needed to find ways to put them into place and make them more than just talk. Through small moments such as thanking and listening to others, company culture and procedures could start shifting to one of mutual trust and value. When he introduced himself to others, Conant would tell people everything about himself, from his values and thoughts on the industry to his communication and leadership styles, to make all his relationships transparent and hold himself accountable; he’d invite others to do the same. He attentively listened to employees in daily interactions, and would offer to help and use his expertise to make others feel comfortable and valued.

Find Ways to Measure and Reinforce Progress Made

Once the changes were put into place, Conant had to find ways to measure the progress the company made, and reinforce the good things happening. He did this by surveying the organization to see whether his leaders were meeting or exceeding expectations and increasing engagement. He created the “Influence With Honor” award to recognize model performers. When it came to employees or leaders who weren’t civil, he gave them chances to correct their behaviors. No one is civil all the time, and improving an individual’s performance rather than letting that person go right away demonstrates a commitment to improvement.

Leading From Your executivehub Office Space

Becoming a better entrepreneur and business leader starts with respecting and inspiring the people you work with and caring for the people you serve. With that as your foundation, you’ll have an edge on your competitors. If you’re looking for a place your team can call home and you’re in the Scottsdale area, consider renting an office space from executivehub. We have flexible lease arrangements to fit your needs, all the technical support and resources you need to get to work, and common areas where you can go to connect with other like-minded individuals. For more information on what we can do for you, contact us online or by phone at 480.945.8500.

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