R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the Workplace Today
Sylvia Lane

With the airways filled with memories of Aretha Franklin and how she sang about respect in a love relationship between a man and a woman.  I feel that respect is important in every relationship beginning with our own self-image and it essential in our effectiveness in the workplace.

Respect is defined as a “feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, and achievements.” It is often characterized by deference, reverence, and honor.  You, your team members and your clients may not be publicly given such acclaim as a famous entertainer, but these two respect principles apply to everyone and include:

Respect Yourself

Do you take time to compliment yourself for your accomplishments personally and professionally?  Are you willing to accept compliments from others graciously or do you tend to dismiss their gift of acknowledgment and act as though you don’t deserve it?  Each time you downplay a compliment, you are making yourself feel “not good enough,” “less than,” or sometimes even inferior.  Some people think that it is not professional and too self-serving to accept accolades about what they do.  I feel that it enhances the relationship to be comfortable and thankful for the compliment.  You don’t have to go overboard with acceptance.  You also don’t have to reciprocate.  You may not feel the same about the other person.  Sincerity is important.  Your acceptance also reinforces what you know to be true about yourself and exhibits confidence.  Acknowledging the other’s compliment supports the feeling of self-respect that you already have for your own talent and skills and demonstrates respect for the other person when you graciously accept it.

Respect Others

Sometimes in relationships with clients and team members, we get so caught up in the details of the work project that we forget some of the basic communication skills that show respect for the client and fellow team members.  These include:

  1. Be an “active listener.”  Give your full attention to the other person.  Are you coming off as open and receiving or cold and distant? During the give and take of the conversation, stay alert to not only what you are saying but to how you are saying it.  Be aware of your tone, your pace, eye contact, and body language, too.
  2. Put yourself in the other person’s place to understand and respect their point of view. Listen with your heart as well as with your head.
  3. Communicate a positive expectation for the outcome of your meeting. This helps the other person to feel that they are joining you in something that will be good for you both.
  4. Summarize any mutual agreements. Repeat and put into writing what you each have agreed to do and by when. Follow Brianna Johnson’s ideas to Capture Your Meetings With Recaps.
  5. Follow up on the commitments that you have agreed upon. Continue to work towards a “win-win” outcome.

Demonstrating R-E-S-P-E-C-T is foundational to any relationship whether personal or professional.  We honor each other as we come together with a commitment to leave with something greater than either of us could have done alone.  It is this awareness that keeps us meeting and greeting, planning, executing the plan, and evaluating the results.

Which personal or professional relationships could you better incorporate these R-E-S-P-E-C-T? Which principle will make the biggest difference for you to commit to and practice starting today?

With Warm Regards,



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