What Is Respect in the Workplace?

By Indeed Editorial Team

September 16, 2021

Respect is one of the most important traits in the workplace because it creates a positive work culture for you and your team members to accomplish goals together. A respectful attitude should be standard in the workplace regardless of personal feelings. In fact, both employers and employees need to give respect to each other and their peers. As an employee, you can respect your coworkers and your managers by giving them the attention they need, listening to their opinions and speaking with kindness. In this article, we explain 11 ways you can show respect in your workplace.

What is respect in the workplace?

Respect is the feeling of regarding someone well for their qualities or traits, but respect can also be the action of treating people with appreciation and dignity. A respectful attitude should be standard in the workplace regardless of personal feelings. 

Both employers and employees need to give respect to each other and their peers. As an employee, you can respect your coworkers and your managers by giving them the attention they need, listening to their opinions and speaking with kindness. You may find certain characteristics and abilities you admire in your teammates and demonstrate your respect based on that. Team members won’t necessarily like or admire the personalities of their supervisors or coworkers, but they still need to act respectfully on the job to achieve their goals and be professional.

Importance of respect at work   

Once you understand why respect is important, it starts to take on a greater meaning. You can start to understand why your coworkers react in certain situations and take steps to create a more positive work environment with everyone involved. When people feel respected, they give respect to others. Some benefits of respect in the workplace include:

Respect reduces stress

Stress reduction is particularly important for the health of employees in the workplace. Unstressed, respected employees feel more comfortable sharing ideas and working with their peers to accomplish their goals. Increased respect and reduced stress has a mental as well as a physical impact on the health of workers.

Respect increases productivity and collaboration

Respect can provide more opportunities for employees. When you respect your coworkers, you turn to them for help and get their ideas on various problems and issues. This leads to more creative solutions and increased collaboration, so work gets done faster and more efficiently.

A project becomes an opportunity to learn from each other where both parties grow their skills. Soon, there could be cross-training and information training across all areas of your company as your staff collaborates.

Respect improves employee satisfaction

Collaboration and productivity together create a positive workplace with satisfied employees. Employees can be happy with the work they do and leave at the end of the day feeling proud of what they have accomplished. This sense of satisfaction has the power to benefit employers in the long run.

Satisfied employees typically want to stay at the companies that value them and look for ways to advance or grow their careers. Satisfied employees are more likely to apply for internal promotions and lead their teams with the same respect and care that they have come to value. Lower turnover rates lead to less money and time spent on training and onboarding.

Respect creates a fair environment

One of the most important things an employer can offer is a chance for employees to show their skills and knowledge regardless of their background. Respect prevents people from playing favorites, and everyone has a chance to make their voice heard. A fair chance is powerful because it allows different types of employees to participate.

Each employee has just as much of a voice as their counterparts and everyone’s ideas are valued regardless of where they come from. In the right setting, employees can bloom when they are given a chance to contribute fairly.

How to show respect in the workplace

Every workspace is unique, and employers and employees can show respect in different ways. There are some universal ways to show respect in the workplace and improve the levels of respect within your team:

  1. Listen to what everyone has to say

  2. Pay attention to nonverbal communication

  3. Practice transparency

  4. Recognize the strengths and accomplishments of others

  5. Value the time and workloads of others

  6. Delegate meaningful work

  7. Practice common courtesy and politeness

  8. Prevent bias (even implicit bias)

  9. Include everyone in meetings, discussions and celebrations

  10. Consider how others view you and your actions

  11. Help your peers

1. Listen to what everyone has to say

Listen carefully to what others have to say, and give them time to share their ideas. This can lead to a healthier and happier environment. 

For example, the next time you are eager to share your thoughts, make sure that everyone has had a chance to speak first. Encourage everyone to participate. This might increase collaboration within your team.

Read more: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples

2. Pay attention to nonverbal communication

Respect applies to nonverbal communication and body language as well. You can support your peers and be respectful even without talking. 

Think about how you interact with your coworkers, and make sure it is in a respectful manner. A few examples include making eye contact when someone talks to you and nodding to show that you are actively listening. 

Read more: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

3. Practice transparency

People feel respected when they are trusted with information and understand the bigger picture and larger goals within an organization. By taking steps to be transparent, you show that you trust your colleagues with information and want to work toward solutions together.

You can do this by sending regular updates on a project or explaining why you took certain steps to complete a task.

Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples

4. Recognize the strengths and accomplishments of others

In the same way that you should listen to what others have to say and acknowledge their good ideas, it is also important to recognize the strengths and accomplishments of the people on your team. Try to praise others for their skills, dedication or successes to show your respect and appreciation.

5. Value the time and workloads of others

By understanding that other people in the company are busy, you can give them respect. Ideally, they will return the respect to you.

For example, if you schedule a meeting, make sure that it starts and ends on time. This shows respect to your coworkers because you value their time and the work they have to do.

6. Delegate meaningful work

Balancing your workload can make you more effective, and your coworkers might be willing to offer a helping hand. When everyone works together, projects can get done on time and meet the goals of management and your clients. 

If a coworker offers to help with your workload, try to give them work that is relevant to their jobs or beneficial to their careers. This will create meaning in what they do and might make them want to help you in the future.

7. Practice common courtesy and politeness

If you ask most people for their description of respect, they will often use terms like courtesy or politeness, and these are two elements that are important in a successful workplace. People are more willing to help you if you are polite. 

Taking simple steps like asking your coworkers politely for help can go a long way. Thanking people for help or highlighting their hard work is both polite and respectful. These steps are small and can have a big impact.

8. Prevent bias (even implicit bias)

Respect extends beyond the skills of your coworkers and into their personal beliefs. By eliminating bias in personal and professional relationships, you can create a welcoming workplace for everyone. 

Business owners can do this by filtering job candidates by skillset, not by name or education.

9. Include everyone in meetings, discussions and celebrations

Having everyone needed in a meeting or discussion will increase a collaborative environment and produce new ideas for problems. Your team will come up with better solutions and identify solutions faster. 

If you are having a meeting or a celebration, make sure to include everyone needed. Build rapport with others outside of your comfort zone. 

Read more: Collaboration Skills: Definition and Examples

10. Consider how others view you and your actions

Always be aware of your words and actions in the workplace and how they might affect your teammates. This concept is called emotional intelligence, and it refers to understanding the emotions of others and how your actions impact their reactions.

Try to think before you speak, or talk to your coworkers about the language you use. A few small changes can help improve respect. 

Read more: Emotional Intelligence: Definition and Examples

11. Help your peers

Everyone makes mistakes at times; however, employees can respect each other by acknowledging the failures of others and building them up to overcome their problems in the future. Help your peers if they are struggling, so you can accomplish your goals together.

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