The importance of respect in the workplace

September 13th 2018 | Posted by phil scott

The importance of respect in the workplace

Respect is one of the central tenets of a happy workplace.

Have you ever worked somewhere where you didn’t feel respected? That feeling can weave its way through your daily routine and into your work and before you can stop it, you realise it’s had an irreversible negative effect on how you do your job and, most importantly, your happiness at work.

Within a work environment it’s crucial not only to respect those who hold a more senior position, but also to show respect to peers and people throughout the business at any level and in any role.  Seniority of position in an organisation isn’t a reason to command respect – all people in a work environment deserve to be treated respectfully as every individual makes a valuable contribution to the success of a business.

What is respect and why is it important?

Respect is how you treat those around you.  Giving respect to colleagues means being considerate, kind and thoughtful.  Demonstrating respect means listening to others, showing the value in their thoughts and opinions and working towards understanding their differing point of view.  It means accepting that people are individuals and valuing these differences in others, plus the uniqueness that they bring to work.

Through giving respect to others, you are more likely to earn it back from your colleagues – making for massively improved working relationships and a significantly more harmonious working environment.  Quite simply, behave towards those around you, as you would like them to behave towards you.

Respect helps stamp out workplace bullying

Creating a culture of respect in the workplace can effectively stop workplace bullying before it starts.   Encouraging respect from the top down demonstrates how a business expects its employees to treat each other.  If a culture of respect is created right from the beginning, any potential chances of mistreating a colleague that could be seen as workplace bullying can be more easily avoided.

Respect influences long-term business success

Employees who treat colleagues in their workplace with consideration and respect can make a huge positive contribution to the long-term achievements of the business.

If individuals are encouraged to show respect internally, the knock-on effect of this will be an improvement in how they treat people they interact with outside of the business – clients, suppliers and other stakeholders.    This positive behaviour and attitude will have a tangible impact on all external relationships and ultimately support the businesses commercial achievements.

Respect impacts recruitment and retention

Respect (or a lack of) in the workplace can have a significant impact on the character of a business as a whole.  If your employees aren’t treated with respect and aren’t showing respect to their colleagues, the result could be staff members choosing to leave their job and also a negative reputation when it comes to recruitment.  Professional candidates who are looking to join a team could be negatively influenced if the work culture is one of disrespect, as they may feel they wouldn’t be valued and appreciated.

7 simple ways to show respect to your colleagues

1. Ask their opinions and REALLY listen to what they have to say, valuing their views and contributions
2. Be warm, kind and most importantly, polite in your daily interactions
3. Include others and be welcoming to those around you
4. Accept that other people may have a different way of doing things and demonstrate that you place value in how another person works
5. Show your appreciation for other people’s work and that you value input into a project or activity
6. Encourage others to achieve their own goals, never holding people back
7. Say thank you