Respect isn’t a given, but if you show respect first, it usually follows quickly in return.
Here are five ways to foster respect in the workplace.
1. Speak words of affirmation – Recognize the efforts of all those you work with, and express your appreciation for a job well done. Everyone appreciates an acknowledgement for their time and completed work. It may be as simple as saying a sincere, “thanks,” “good job,” or “awesome work.” When you say positive things, your encouraging spirit makes an impact on all those you work with, fostering general goodwill.
2. Listen before speaking – Make it a habit to listen first and speak second. Make sure you understand what is being said and aren’t just waiting for your turn to talk. Waiting to respond until others are done talking can avoid misinterpretations and miscommunication. You can acknowledge the person and show them that you’re listening by nodding your head or responding non-verbally. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if necessary. Listening not only enhances your understanding, it demonstrates professionalism and respect as well.
3. Act with kindness – Be courteous, polite, and kind to those around you, treating them equally and fairly. Speak with a positive tone, offer help or guidance if needed, and use others’ ideas to improve your own work, recognizing their input. Treating others as you wish to be treated, or better, and having a positive attitude will help you remain optimistic and give you the capability to tactfully and politely work through any situation. Be kind in every aspect of your work, from returning a phone call when you said you would to opening the door for someone else.
4. Display integrity – Trust is the foundation of strong co-worker relationships. Be honest with your co-workers and your supervisors, even when you have to admit you’re wrong or that you’ve made a mistake. Speak, act, and react with professionalism and integrity, no matter what the situation. Displaying your integrity throughout all aspects of your work will allow others to trust you, but in return, you also have to trust them.
5. Demonstrate a strong work ethic – Demonstrating a solid work ethic goes beyond showing others that you’re reliable and can get your work done accurately and timely. When you’re dependable, others can look to you for guidance and support, fostering teamwork and trust. Once you’ve shown you can complete your tasks as assigned, while keeping a positive attitude, you may gain not only respect, but also more responsibilities and opportunities. A strong work ethic is more than doing what you’re asked; it’s also being proactive to prove your reliability.
Fostering mutual respect takes time and effort, and doesn’t always come easily. So, use the guidelines above to demonstrate respect and trust toward others, and you’ll gain their trust and respect in return.