Graduate from Kindergarten? Then You Have the Key to Successful People Management


Lourdes Gonzalez, craft cocktail connoisseur, brunch indulger, movie fanatic.

Kindergarten: forger of first friendships and life’s initial lessons. From sharing crayons to saying “please and thank you” to cleaning up your mess. Big shout out to my first great teacher Miss Ada for stressing that it all boils down to one simple yet powerful concept: respect.

Respect comes at the crossroads of trusting relationships and genuinely good people management. If I trust you as my manager, I will surely believe in you and be more willing to work with and for you.

Why does it matter

The hard truth is employees tend to leave their managers more often than the company or the job. Showing respect for your team in moments as simple as daily interactions like smiling and asking them for feedback places the building blocks to develop trust as a leader.

For some, respect is something that was earned along the way in becoming a manager – it’s something deserved to anyone based on their “status”. If this resonates with you, I’ll save you a few valuable minutes. Out of respect for your time, you may want to move on to a different post.

Provided you share Miss Ada’s philosophy that respect is something you show and earn every day, keep reading for a little self-reflection.

Think about yourself:

  • Do you greet people in hallways consistently?

  • Do you ask for permission to give feedback to your employees?

  • How often do you ask your team to give you feedback?

  • Do you gossip with your team?

  • Have you ever shared information that was given to you in confidence by one of your team members?

  • How often do you email or text an employee for a basic question while they are out sick or on vacation?

  • Do you keep your promises to your team?

  • How often do you show appreciation to your team for their contributions?

You get the picture.

Respect is built with the little things that make a big difference. It is an unspoken way of communicating to your team that “you got their backs”. At the end of day, respect is one of those “karmic” concepts: the more you give, the more you get.

So…What’s your daily karmic respect tally as a manager? There’s still time to balance it out today.


Catherine Malloy Cummings

20 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL, 60606, United States