The value of work relationships: Loving thy neighbour at work through the culture of honour

Updated: Jul 8

Karen Kircher

Whilst many have enjoyed more flexible, remote working throughout the pandemic, the daily connection and interaction with work colleagues has been greatly missed; the banter and chit-chat, support and encouragement, sharing ideas and working together to achieve projects, tasks and activities.

This is hardly surprising because, whilst strategy, technology, processes and procedures are important, business is about people. The cliché that people are the greatest asset to any business happens to be true! I love how the various relationships intertwine to make a company successful, reflecting the definition of ‘Company’ as, “The fact or condition of being with another or others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment”. Synonyms include companionship, presence, friendship, fellowship, closeness and camaraderie. We are created to live in community and fellowship, to break bread with one another, working side by side as an expression of our love and worship to God.

Matthew 22:36-40 clearly instructs us to not only keep the first commandment, which is to, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" but secondly to “Love your neighbour as yourself.” What better way to do this than the daily opportunity to love those we work alongside, whether colleagues, customers or suppliers etc. Sadly, over the years business has become more and more transactional, with the focus on efficiency and profit rather than valuing relationships and enabling employees to flourish. By changing the emphasis from profit to people, the workplace becomes a happier and healthier place, which in turn increases productivity and therefore profit.

Honour says, “I trust and believe in you”.

As a leadership and organisational development coach, I love to encourage the debate around creating a culture that honours every person within a business community. The verb ‘to honour’ means ‘to regard with great respect and great esteem. A person who is honoured is regarded as being weighty or as amounting to something.’ Imagine the impact if every organisation created a Culture of Honour in which everyone always chooses and at all levels to recognise, acknowledge worth and to act accordingly with each other through mutual respect, honesty and sincerity?

It is encouraging to see an increasing number of organisations seeking to build a more ethical culture, not just rhetoric, but through their actions and behaviour. Living a culture of honour makes business sense because leaders, by honouring others enable them to develop and perform to their full potential. Consider how being honoured makes you feel personally? Then consider the flipside i.e., dishonour?

Honour says, “I trust and believe in you”. Building trust takes time and effort but the underlying concept is simple. We need truly to listen to people, to seek first to understand. We need to demonstrate integrity and respect. We need to communicate people’s worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves. This is the true spirit of leadership that Jesus exemplified to us all. Only then will we be able to unleash the potential of our organisations through the power of effective, enterprising people.

Karen Kircher is an author, organisational development coach and speaker. To find out more about what she does and to sign up to one of her course visit her website.