Has technology replaced respect in our workplace?

  • Published
  • By Pamela L. Dowell
  • Director, 55th Wing Equal Opportunity
My adult children are into the latest and greatest advancements in technology: Blackberries, iPads and Droids. These devices are made to elevate us from the burden of time-consuming actions such as hearing someone's voice or laughter or even a sigh of sadness.

We can use Twitter, texting, online chats and a long list of acronyms to communicate. My children want me to become technologically savvy, and I want a cell phone that calls people. We've come a long way in the communications arena from telegraph to "OMG," "LOL" and ":-)"

With all these new, wonderful ways to communicate, are we losing our ability to "show" respect to one another?

When was the last time we actually listened to someone and truly heard them? Respect in the workplace isn't just about "thank you" and "please" - although that's a start. Is there a chance technology is robbing us of our capacity to share ideas and opinions with others face to face?

We are busy people. After all, it is 2011, and we must do more with less. But does that "less" equate to our lack of respect for our co-workers? We need to take time to hear new ideas, work through complex issues as a team, and be there to hear what may not be said. If we continue to live in a world of tweets and texts, how we can learn to respect the importance of both din and silence amongst our peers?

I challenge each of you to make the "art of listening" your newest communication skill. You may find out others want to listen to you as well.