Aim: To understand the term “Respect” according to the PMI Code of Ethics
The manner in which we treat people and things is based on the value we place on them. The standard of respect states that we should treat people and resources as though we value them. In the context of project management, these might include people, money, reputation, safety, and environmental resources. These resources are entrusted to the project manager and must be treated with the utmost respect.
Aspirational Standards for Respect
The aspirational standards for respect include developing an environment that promotes trust, confidence, and excellence for all who are engaged in the project. The aspirational standards for respect include
• Learning the norms and customs of others and avoiding behaviors that could be disrespectful
• Listening to and attempting to understand to others’ points of view
• Dealing with conflict and disagreement directly with the other person
• Conducting yourself in a professional manner, even when not everyone else does so
Mandatory Standards for Respect
The mandatory standards for respect include
• Negotiating in good faith
• Not using your authority to influence others to your personal benefit
• Never acting in an abusive manner towards others
• Respecting others’ property rights
Remember that respect includes showing a high regard to more than just other people. There might be questions on the exam that require you understand that respect also applies to money, reputation, the safety of others, and natural or environmental resources.
The Impact of Respect
An overwhelming number of conflicts among any group of people boil down to one simple issue: a lack of respect. Failing to show respect or actively showing disrespect will cause a conflict faster than nearly any other single action (or omission). Every person has a set of expectations on how to act. Trying to react to different behavioral standards can be tricky, but it is an important skill for the project manager.
There are many different issues when discussing respect, but the most important areas in which most people have well-developed respect expectations include
• Religious beliefs
• Political beliefs
• Allegiance to other people and/or organizations
• Perceived, or actual, rank or status
• Cultural practices
The preceding list is only a partial listing of areas in which certain levels of respect are expected. If a person, through intent or ignorance, shows disrespect to something or someone, conflict might result. Examples of a disrespectful act can be as simple as a comment about a revered sports team or as egregious as a religious slur. You should avoid all forms of disrespect and you must treat all people equally with respect in all cases.
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