5 Ways to Show and Earn Respect

give and earn respectMutual respect in the workplace creates a solid foundation for positive teamwork and professional success.

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.


  1. Kasey

    This post smacks of irony.

    I got a call just now from Express Employment “Professionals”, asking me about a nursery job I had applied for some time back. I was very excited to say the least!

    So the first person answered, and put me on hold for a while. Not a big deal. Later:

    “Hi! Are you still there?”

    – Yes

    “Oops! Hold on a second!” *hold*

    “Hi are you still there?”

    – Yes

    “Ok let me see if I can… – just another second!” *hold*

    “Hi – oh wait, ok hold on!” *hold*


    ^^^ All from the same person, in roughly the same 5 minute period. But alright, not too critical here. Maybe it’s a hectic day + one too many espressos. I’ve been there. But she was asking if I was available for this job, so I was more than patient.

    She put me over to another person who started asking about my employment history. When I said that most of this was on my resume, I got:

    “I know but I dont have it in front of me, or I wouldn’t be asking you these questions.”

    ^^^ Maybe you could try “Yes I know, but I’m simply confirming the information”, or if you want more casual, “I’m only double checking”.

    After taking my information, she says “Based on what you told me, I dont have anything for you right now”.

    I mentioned the nursery job… I mean thats the whole reason I got this phone call in the first place.

    Her response?

    “I dont see any point of doing that.”

    … wow. You dont see the point? Not something like “that position is still in consideration sir”, or “I’m sorry, we are still in the process of screening applicants”. You dont see the point.

    This is after I just told her that I’ve been looking for work 8 months. Remember, I didn’t call them. They called me. And one of the first things the first person asked was whether or not I was available.

    So I said “how bout some income?” After all, that’s a pretty good point, isn’t it?

    “I know that, but I’m not going to give you any information about this job. Ok?”

    ^^^ Only an employment *professional* would talk like that.

    I tried calling the first person back, since it seemed she was ready to tell me about the job, asking if I was available and all. She immediately put me back through to this other person.

    Who says…

    “Why are you calling back? I thought I told you” – I hung up.

    8 months, 200 job applications, 10 visits to Goodwill Job Connections, Oregon Worksource, Central City Concern, and over 100 visits to TPI, and sitting down to discuss things one on one with 4 different employment specialist…

    And now we’ve found a job for you! We’ll even call you about it, tell you about it, and ask if you’re available.

    Then I’m going to not give it to you and refuse to talk about it further. You know why? Because there’s no point. That’s why.

    When I come here, one of the first posts I see is something about “respect”. The irony.

  2. Kasey

    Update: The above happened with the Gresham office, in Portland, Oregon.

    Got a response within just a few minutes, and they told me they would look into it. At least they handle complaints professionally!

    1. Jared Cole

      Sorry to hear about experience with one of the Express franchises. We will be contacting the Gresham office to get to the bottom of the situation to find out what can be done to prevent scenarios like this from happening.

      Thank you for alerting us to this situation.

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