How to Demonstrate Respect in the Workplace

Create a Positive Work Culture for Your Employees

Business people demonstrating respect in interaction with each other.
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Respect is a key requirement for a healthy work environment. It promotes teamwork and increases productivity and efficiencies in the workplace. It lets employees know they are valued for their abilities, qualities, and achievements, and that their role is important to their company's success.

Being respected and valued promotes a positive work culture where employees are loyal, fulfilled, and motivated to perform at their best for their company. Those who are not respectful to others are unprofessional and a threat to the health of their company.

The Meaning of Respect in the Workplace

Always treat people the way you want to be treated—with respect. Recognize that, like you, your coworkers, reports, and superiors have rights, opinions, wishes, experience, and competence. They also make mistakes, which are simply lessons to be learned. They have similar concerns and insecurities and share the common goal of wanting to perform their jobs successfully.

Respect in the workplace breeds a healthy work environment. A professional, respectful work culture encourages productivity and growth. The staff works optimally knowing they are valued and respected for their ideas as well as their role within the company.

Respect in the workplace fosters productivity, growth, and success for your organization.

Determining Respect in the Workplace

Respect can be heard in a person's tone of voice, in their nonverbal communication, and in how they address you. It can be observed by how your coworker or supervisor listens to you and asks questions to make sure they understand your point of view.

You judge respect by the way your organization, superiors, and coworkers treat you. It is apparent in how your organization establishes new rules and policies and introduces them to employees, and how they compensate, recognize, and reward you.

Respect can be determined by how often workers ask your opinion, consult you about any changes that could affect your job prior to implementing them, and delegate meaningful assignments to you.


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Examples of How to Show Respect in the Workplace

Ideas for demonstrating respect in the workplace include:

  • Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness.
  • Encourage coworkers to express opinions and ideas.
  • Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint. Never speak over or interrupt another person. Listen and stop formulating rebuttals and responses in your mind when you need to focus on listening to the other person.
  • Use peoples' ideas to change or improve work. Let employees know that you used their idea or encourage them to implement it.
  • Never insult, use name-calling, disparage, or belittle people or their ideas.
  • Do not constantly criticize, judge, demean, or patronize a worker. A series of seemingly trivial actions added up over time constitutes bullying.
  • Be aware of your body language, tone of voice, and your demeanor and expression in all of your interactions at work. People hear what you're really saying in addition to listening to your words.
  • Improve your ability to interact with coworkers and supervisors based on the awareness you've gained dealing with people and your emotional intelligence. This will help you to relate with empathy and better understand those with whom you work.
  • Treat employees fairly and equally. Treating people differently can constitute harassment, discrimination, or a hostile work environment.
  • Include all coworkers in meetings, discussions, training, and events. While not every person can participate in every activity, do not marginalize, exclude or leave out any one person. Provide an equal opportunity for employees to participate in committees, task forces, or continuous improvement teams. Solicit volunteers and try to involve everyone.
  • Offer praise more frequently. Encourage praise and recognition among employees, as well as from supervisors.

Importance of Respect in the Workplace

Respect is a requisite for a healthy, professional workplace where employees feel valued performing work that is meaningful to their organization. A healthy work environment can increase employee retention and boost an organization's reputation as a great place to work.