Respect plays a fundamental role in your workplace. It’s the basic building block to your success. Without respect, you’re left with a toxic environment where no one trusts each other and few are motivated to go above and beyond their basic job responsibilities.
However, if you want to increase productivity, reach shared goals, and ensure that every team member feels valued, you must cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation.
Respect is one of our core values here at The Receptionist. Respect for our customers and for each other dictates everything that we do.
But what does “respect in the workplace” actually mean?
To us, respect is an action verb, where you demonstrate sincere regard for another person. You treat others as you’d like to be treated, and you look for and appreciate the unique value that the other person brings to the table.Respect is an action verb, where you demonstrate sincere regard for another person. Click To Tweet
Why is Respect in the Workplace Important?
Respect is an essential component in the workplace that you hardly notice when it’s present but can instantly notice when it’s not.
If your workplace is filled with favoritism or an overall lack of enthusiasm among staff, you may be in the beginning stages of a toxic work environment. Other telltale signs include a pattern of behavior that’s exclusionary, disruptive, or passive-aggressive. And that extends to leaders and employees.
A toxic work environment leads to an atmosphere of disrespect. Some employees, especially those who aren’t in a favored group, will feel marginalized. This, in turn, will lead to overall dissatisfaction with themselves, their job performance, and the organization.
This toxic atmosphere impedes progress and limits employees’ potential in your organization.
Here’s a breakdown of why mutual respect matters in any organization:
Employees who feel respected are more motivated to work harder for their organization. They’re also more likely to introduce new ideas that can innovate your processes.
When an employee knows that their hard work and their input will be appreciated, they’re motivated to offer both. It’s a rewarding feeling to know that one’s manager and team care about and look forward to their contributions. This is what leads to a thriving and productive work environment.
Disrespect leads to stress.
After all, what can be more stressful than going to a job that doesn’t care about you?
This is why so many employees loathe the idea of going to work each morning. They know that after clocking in, they’re going to be met with a stream of negativity in one form or another, whether it’s a power play from an overly controlling team member or being made a punchline for someone’s joke.
And of course disrespect can get even worse if unchecked. It can turn into outright bullying or sexual harassment.
When subjected to this stressful environment, it’s no surprise that an employee’s job performance declines and they ultimately decide to leave the organization to improve their mental health.
Leveled Playing Field
A respectful environment means that everyone is treated with the same regard. No one is given preferential treatment above the others in an organization. Everyone from the CEO on down the ladder are appreciated for the unique roles that they fulfill.
This also means that everyone’s ideas are welcomed because you acknowledge that each person in your organization plays a vital role in its success. No one feels like their input or opinions don’t matter.
Treating everyone with the same level of respect can energize your workplace and ensure that your colleagues truly feel valued.
Increased Employee Satisfaction
When your employees feel respected, they feel empowered to do their jobs. They know that their fellow team and their managers trust them to complete their jobs correctly, and that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Respect leads to increased employee satisfaction which, in turn, will improve your ability to retain more of your employees.
Lack of respect is one of the major reasons why employees leave. In various studies, lack of respect even beats out low pay or lack of growth opportunities as the leading cause for employee churn. Most people leave organizations because they don’t feel like their skills are recognized by management. And they also feel like their time is wasted on pointless activities, such as lengthy meetings, which is a way of disrespecting someone’s time.
Bottom line: They feel undervalued. This of course leads to burnout, which then leads to job hunting.
But by cultivating an atmosphere of respect, your employees will be more likely to stick around. They’ll also explore opportunities that are present within your organization and be more willing to apply for promotions.
How to Introduce Respect Into Your Workplace
So now that we’ve explored the major benefits that you can reap by cultivating a respectful atmosphere in your workplace, let’s discuss exactly how to do that.
Make a Plan for Dealing With Conflict
Conflict is an inevitable part of working with different personalities. You won’t be able to avoid all conflicts, but you can handle the ones that do pop up in a respectful manner.
First, seek to address the conflict right away. A conflict that’s left to fester can explode into a bigger issue with time.
Next, take both perspectives into consideration. Look for solutions. As a third party, you have the ability to explore different solutions objectively.
Here’s more on how to handle employee conflict in a positive way.
When any employee offers an idea or shares feedback, listen to them. In fact, encourage them to do so. When everyone has a voice, your organization can become stronger. And your employees themselves will feel more value.
Remember not to interrupt or insert your own thoughts. Instead, give the employee the chance to be heard. And actively listen to them. In other words, don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Sincerely take in what they have to say and decide if that feedback can be used to improve your project, your organization, or your own management skills.
Share Encouraging Feedback
Instead of always providing constructive criticism, which can be received and perceived as negative, share positive feedback, too. Positive feedback shows your employees that you value them and recognize their strengths as well as their opportunities for self-improvement.
It’s also a good idea to praise your team as a group. This encourages teamwork and a healthy amount of mutual respect for what each team member adds to the organization. And it discourages harmful competitive behavior.
Finally, recognize individual team members publicly, too. Of course, it’s a good idea to mix up who you recognize so that everyone gets a time to shine for their unique contributions.
Welcome Feedback From Others
It’s a good idea to collect diverse feedback. In other words, don’t just ask the same people for advice. Seek out opinions from multiple people on your team. This way, no one feels routinely left out of the conversation.
Seek out the opinions of minorities in your workplace. Minorities can refer to any small group in your office, and can be identified by gender, age, or ethnicity, just to name a few. You’ll have a richer perspective when you invite multiple perspectives.
Respect in the workplace is something that we must work hard to achieve and to maintain. Use the above tips to ensure that your workplace offers an equitable and respectful experience for your entire team.
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