A new HR Manager noticed that a large portion of employees were consistently wearing non-professional clothing that clearly violated the company’s dress code. She took it upon herself to start gently reminding employees about the dress code with the hope that the professional standards of the employees would start improving.

One day, she boarded the elevator and noticed an employee she hadn’t seen before dressed in substandard clothing. She introduced herself and then proceeded to gently remind the employee about the company’s dress code policy and how the organization expected all employees to dress professionally. Upon reaching the top floor, the employee thanked the HR Manager for her input and agreed that he should start improving his professional attire. He then proceeded to introduce himself and identified himself to the HR Manager as the CEO and owner of the company.

The CEO could easily have interrupted the HR Manager during her gentle chiding, but instead allowed the manager to do her job and not only listened to her advice, but he promised to follow his own company’s policies when it came to the dress code. It was only after this that he introduced who he was.

As we move through our professional career, we are often faced with a hierarchy, both inside and outside of our organization. While it is good to have designated authority and an understanding of who is in control of the organization’s direction, as professionals we need to ensure that no matter where we fall in the organization’s hierarchy, we treat every individual with respect and dignity.

A positive personality that is open to critique and feedback can enhance not only your ability to get along with those around you, but also increase the positive and professional relationships with your employees, coworkers, and managers. Think about those you work with who possess that natural positive and accepting personality. Watch how they interact positively; most often these positive interactions stem from the fact that they treat those around them with respect and dignity whether they are the CEO or the Janitor. This can start by simply taking a genuine interest in those around you. What makes them feel important?

Take the next few days to think about how you present yourself professionally. Think beyond how you dress and even beyond your work effort. How do you interact with your coworkers? Do you take the time to get to know the name of the person at the front desk? Challenge yourself this week to start taking a sincere effort to take a genuine interest in everyone one you work with.