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Improving Respect in the Workplace

January 28, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 183

In my career I have administered several employee surveys. Often there is a question asking which core value the company struggles with the most. Many times I have seen the value companies struggle most with is respect. Why does respect seem to be the answer so often and what can we do to improve respect in the workplace?

Here are some real-life experiences I have personally observed during my career. They are simple examples of not showing respect to fellow employees. Many of these I am sure were not done intentionally, but regardless of the intention, had a negative effect to their co-worker.

Wow!! Looks like you're gaining some weight. Quit trying to be an eagle. I hired you to be a duck.I don't really care what you think. I hired you to do your job, not to think.Oh... you're brining us donuts so you won't be the only one gaining weight around here.That is the dumbest idea I have ever heard!

As humans, we tend to say things without really thinking about the impact they will have on our co-workers. It's O.K. for a bald man to make jokes about bald men, but not appropriate for someone with a full head of hair to participate in the joking. If you are not part of the sub-group in question, you have no right to use certain words, or make light of, or joke about certain things. Anything that could be viewed as sexual harassment or racial slurs are never appropriate in the workplace, nor are they respectful. Even though you may think something, doesn't mean you should say what comes to your mind. Some things are left better unsaid.

Most of us prefer to be seen as who we are, not how we may look or what sub-group we may be associated with. Commenting on one's physical appearance or sub-group is usually not appreciated, is often insulting in a business setting, and can be disrespectful. At work, we all belong to the same sub-group - employees of our individual organizations - and as such we should focus on commonalities, not differences with our co-workers.

Consider the difference with these interactions in contrast to those discussed earlier.

Hello Jason. It's been a while since we've seen each other. How are you doing today?I understand that you have ambitions and a desire to progress in your career; however, right now I need you to be the best "pick any position" so we can accomplish our team goals. I really need your help to get this project done on time.I just want to tell you "thank you" for doing a great job on the project.Do you have any suggestions for how we can solve this problem?

In each of these examples, no reference was made about the employees's appearance or sub-group. There was no demeaning language or tone that would be viewed as a personal attack. Points-of-view were validated and the employee could see there was genuine caring for them as an individual.

Here are also some practical things we can all do to show others more respect in and out of the workplace:

Listening attentivelyKeeping agreementsRemembering what others like and dislike.Acknowledging things others do well.Remembering and using first namesBeing considerateUsing manners

Doing these simple, practical things will improve the level of respect you show others. When you are respectful to others, they are much more likely to be respectful towards you. Your job satisfaction will improve, as will that of your co-workers, as you show more respect for each other.

Jason Mefford is a sought after adviser and speaker on ethics, corporate governance, GRC, and internal audit topics. He is currently the President of Mefford Associates, a professional training, coaching and boutique advisory firm.

Mefford has been the chief audit executive at two different multi-billion dollar manufacturing companies. Prior to that he was a manager at both Arthur Andersen and KPMG, performing internal and external audits and advisory services for clients in various industries.

Mefford is active in the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) where he has served in various volunteer leadership positions at the local and international level. He serves on the Leadership Council for the Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG) a non-profit think tank that uniquely helps organizations drive "Principled Performance" by enhancing corporate culture and integrating governance, risk management, and compliance processes.

Source: EzineArticles
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