This is the beginning of a new series on our favorite respect quotes. In the upcoming months, Jay Remer will give his interpretation of these classic quotes on respect and how they pertain to the workplace.

“As a society, we have come to a point where people too often treat one another as objects and opportunities, rather than as fellow human beings. Respecting one another as individuals, or not doing so, seriously impacts the future, for all of us.” — Gail Purcell Elliott

This illuminating quote points right to the heart of the reason society today is in such turmoil, including our personal, family and business lives. As I discussed during the last six months, Civility (with a capital ‘C’ to elevate its significance) is built on six fundamental principles. In our seemingly time-starved pace of living, Civility is crumbling around us. I recently stated on national radio that, in my opinion, this dissolution is the major reason for the economic crisis we have been enduring for far too long, as well as the high number of unemployed people, and the epidemic of unhappy and disgruntled employees. Corporate leaders must take their roles far more seriously and understand that there is a whole lot more to success than a healthy bottom line.

Treating people as mere numbers is disrespectful and lazy. It is also a guaranteed straight line to disaster. Bullying tactics utilized by upper management must cease. I have even suggested that shareholders hold management accountable for a healthy work environment. It’s that serious and that important.

History has proven that incivility leads to chaos, revolution, and the steady and inevitable erosion of the principles of democracy we elect to live by. However it’s not too late to reverse the course. It’s time for corporate America to give itself a shake. Government is not showing any leadership, but that is no excuse for business leaders not to.