Respect is a key component of a healthy workplace. Stating what should be obvious, everyone deserves to work in an environment where they feel encouraged and admired for their contribution to the company. Furthermore, respect should be reciprocated between employees and their bosses. It is not a one-way street that is only entitled to those at the top. “How to Demonstrate Respect in the Workplace,” by Susan M. Heathfield, published on thebalance.com, highlights tips for demonstrating respect at work.
It is important to remember how people know they are respected. Heathfield writes, “You can hear respect in a person’s tone of voice, in their nonverbal communication, and in the words they use to address you.” It is also important to remember that disrespect can be unintentional, so it is always important to not let outside frustrations control the way you address others. Heathfield suggests that coworkers should be encouraged to share their ideas and should never be cut off or interrupted. It is important to give everyone time to discuss ideas even if you personally disagree. Furthermore, the workplace should encourage an environment where employees are recognized for their accomplishments and innovative ideas. Human beings need to know that they are a valued part of the team.
Heathfield also speaks in favor of an inclusive work environment. She believes that meetings and events should be as inclusive as possible, providing an opportunity for a variety of people to be involved. If events cannot be open to everyone at once, it is important that not every event and decision is dominated by a select few. On the same note, Heathfield speaks out against discrimination stating, “Treat people the same no matter their race, religion, gender, size, age, or country of origin.” I’d say, examine your thoughts for reasons you may not be open to interacting with someone, particularly if it is because of one of their identities. Perhaps your own fear of being treated differently by them causes you to become weary. Regardless of your reason, remember that they belong to the same workplace and deserve a fair chance to show their true character.
Finally, avoid any blatant action of disrespect. Heathfield mentions examples such as name calling, belittling, judging, insulting, and patronizing. Although this should go without saying, it is important to reflect on your daily experience. Is there anyone at work that is repeatedly the target of sarcastic comments or jokes? Although these actions may seem harmless and amusing to onlookers, they can be hurtful or even damaging of the employee’s ability to concentrate on meaningful projects. Realize that any targeted behavior due to a personal identity can be considered harassment and should be acknowledged.
A simple way to address harassment or any workplace misconduct is by empowering employees to anonymously report the concern to a hotline such as Red Flag Reporting. Do your part to promote a respectful workplace today.