3 Tips For Improving Workplace Respect

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3 Tips For Improving Workplace Respect

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Show some respect. A phrase often passed around from person to person especially in sporting and athletic events where individuals or teams compete for the highest levels of achievement. Respect has been an issue lately in other areas connected to sports in the USA such as with those attempting to make a statement by not standing during the playing of the national anthem.

businessman and assistant with tablet pc

What about workplace respect? In a recent SHRM job satisfaction and engagement report released in April 2016,  and as noted on their website, one of the most significant contributors for job satisfaction and employee engagement is, “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels.” My experiences in working with many different businesses in many different sectors also led me to the discovery that workplace respect, and what is often labeled as generational differences, are a significant issue for workplace culture and for creating high performance teams. This prompted me to write my fourth book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce (September 2015). Do I believe workplace respect is a challenge? Yes.

There are certainly many factors responsible for respect, or a lack of it, and while it is easy to generalize, pinpointing a few areas that reach across this wide array of factors I can offer three simple tips.

  1. We all want respect. Understanding that everyone in every generation and across all organizational levels wants respect is perhaps the first step towards creating more of it. What one person feels is ridiculous is another person’s precise meaning of what a respectful environment should represent. We all want it, but we may define it differently. Support each other by being more considerate and respectful.
  2. How we are treated. There is an often shared phrase that has been with us for a long time, “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” Many people have tried very hard to live life to this standard, and it is a good standard, however, in today’s society there is some belief that this ideology has shifted and a new or better phrase should be, “Treat others the way they would like to be treated.” Of course there are always limitations, rules, or policies that must be adhered to, but this simple concept may make a big difference for gaining more workplace respect.
  3. Give respect first. Simple but effective, be the person who initiates the creation of a respectful environment. Respect must start someplace; why not let it begin with you? Many people describe leadership as leading by example, and I see no reason why being the person who legitimizes respect should elude leadership principles or core values.

Respect is critical for building and maintaining high performance workplace cultures. Organizations with lower levels of respect will suffer from trust issues, chronic communication challenges, and most likely, a lack of success. When organization leaders fail to see the connection that high performance has with respect, they’ll likely continue to search for solutions to a growing list of problems. Many of these problems will often be blamed on poor hiring practices or lack of an appropriate job applicant pool.

Sometimes the best candidates are already with you. You just need more respect.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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