Respect is something of a foundation stone for reliable and trusting interaction in the workplace. High performance is seldom possible without it.
As a key requirement in the workplace, it promotes teamwork, increases productivity, and goes a long way in maintaining a positive work environment for all. Being and feeling respected is a deeply held need in all human beings. It is tightly bound up in our sense of who we are, of how we identify ourselves, and with whom we identify. To be respected is to be affirmed, acknowledged, seen, and heard for who I am and how I am. Our need is primal. Our ability to reciprocate, variable.
Many organisations include respect as part of their statement of values, partly because they are concerned about the consequences of its absence. And yet, it often remains unmet, a goal to strive for. According to a study cited in the Memphis Business Journal, 80% of employees surveyed believed that the lack of respect is a critical issue, with 60% feeling that the issue was getting worse.
The issue isn’t about being purposefully or intentionally disrespectful, but rather a lack of understanding of what being respectful actually means. It is often confused with politeness, as both are generally expected and demanded in social interactions. However, simply being on time, or saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ isn’t the same as being truly respectful — an equal mix of challenge and support to create an environment of growth, civility, and reliability.
So how can we understand the facets that make up the core of respect? And how can we build a culture of communication that leads us towards it?
Read more in our resource guide, Talking About Respect.