Demonstrating Respect: Are you Unintentionally Stepping on Toes?

June 24, 2011
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Respect is essential in the workplace and an important part of Dale Carnegie training. Demonstrating respect for others works to gain yourself respect and to persuade others to your point of view. Respecting others when they express a different view shows professionalism and integrity. Dale Carnegie says that respecting people that disagree with you is part of persuading them to your point of view.

Everyone would agree that respect is something they value and believe they deserve. The difficulty is that, as a universally valued thing, respect is not universally defined. Certainly, there are behaviors that show disrespect like, yelling, name-calling, interrupting, breaking agreements, etc. But defining what it means to respect someone or the act respectfully depends much more on the situation.

It may seem like a simple concept, one that you can implement with little thought. But, you may be unconsciously showing signs of disrespect or indifference. You may also be missing opportunities to demonstrate respect.

Here are some small ways that you can show respect for your coworkers.

  • Ask people for their opinion, especially those that tend to be quiet and are reluctant to speak up.
  • Never make a joke that includes a coworker. Jokes are a minefield for damaging relationships. Even if you think everyone is ‘in on it,’ you never know what might offend someone or make them feel disrespected. Try to avoid others’ jokes as well, just being a part of the joke is enough to make you responsible.
  • Involve everyone in decisions and discussions. Take some time to think about people in your office you may be overlooking. Besides gaining integrity, you may find that you also gain a valuable business associate or collaborator.
  • Take time to consider an idea after it is expressed. When someone stops talking, let some silence fall between you and consider the points they made before responding. This makes people feel heard. Rushing in with your point makes it seem like you haven’t given their point any value.
  • Try to include people’s ideas into the end decision. Even including part of the idea is meaningful. Make sure you give credit to the individual for their contribution.

Demonstrating respect requires small, consistent gestures. Specific behaviors will depend on the type of environment and company culture.

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