Respect among colleagues and teams is critical to accomplishing workplace goals. Regardless of rank, it is essential to respect fellow colleagues, superiors, clients, and those working under your team. This begins by understanding what respect is in the workplace, and how it can be demonstrated in how you speak to people in the workplace.
What Is Respect in the Workplace?
Respect is the attribute of regarding others well, with dignity and appreciation. A respectful attitude towards coworkers should prevail regardless of your personal feelings towards them. Leaders must show respect to their team members, and in turn, team members must be respectful to their peers and leaders.
The following are some reasons to maintain respect in the workplace:
- Respectfulness fosters a positive work environment where everyone feels appreciated, heard, and dignified
- It reduces stress and anxiety, which in turn makes workers more productive and creative
- It increases collaboration among teams, and encourages all team members to contribute ideas for the common good. Work is completed faster and often above the set expectations
- It increases employee job satisfaction, reducing churn, and increasing on-the-job performance and ambition
- It creates a fair environment where all workers’ knowledge and skills are appreciated, regardless of background
5 Phrases to Earn Respect in the Workplace
Effective communication, whether written or spoken, is a critical aspect of fostering respect in the workplace. The right words will help you to empower and engage with team members to accomplish business goals. Learn these phrases that should be part of your daily language to earn respect in your professional circles.
‘Excuse Me’, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’
Common courtesy is the most basic form of respectful communication in any setting. However, common courtesy, even when you are in a position of leadership, extends regard to the recipient of your message, encouraging them to reciprocate with respect.
It is common for coworkers to put aside courteous behavior, especially in times of stress or when speaking to people under you. However, this communicates lack of regard – even if what you’re asking is ‘part of their job’. It is possible to make firm but respectful requests without laying aside the rules of courtesy.
Never forget to show appreciation and recognize the contributions of team members. Saying ‘thank you’ increases employee morale and boosts their confidence, which directly increases job satisfaction and productivity on future tasks.
‘Tell Me More’ or ‘What Do You Think?’
Collaborative teamwork is about showing interest and inquisitiveness. These phrases help you to seek out others’ ideas and opinions, helping you learn others’ perspectives while making them feel significant/valued.
Remember to actively listen to the ideas they provide after asking for their input. Asking sincerely, listening, and responding at appropriate points helps others to feel valued and more committed to your goals. They are also likely to reciprocate by showing respect, regardless of your rank.
‘You’ve Got This’ or ‘It’s Your Call’
It is impossible for one person to get everything done in the workplace. Team leaders must learn to collaborate effectively and empower capable members to handle certain responsibilities, then follow it up by expressing confidence in their abilities. If they defer to you for advice or seem unsure about a certain decision, encouraging them to believe in their abilities goes a long way to nurture leadership skills in them.
Avoid micromanaging your team after delegating tasks. Examine each of your team members’ capabilities then allow them to work at the optimum by offering encouragement without being overbearing. It may take some getting used to for both parties, but empowering your team members through respecting their judgement will create a stronger, more successful work environment.
‘How Can I Serve You Today?’
If you want to really stand apart in the workplace, try to use this simple phrase. Leaders especially can benefit from communicating servant leadership to their employee. This means finding ways to help and serve them as well as empowering them to fulfill their roles in the workplace.
Servant leadership also means encouraging them to explore their career ambitions and maximize their potential. Make your colleagues and direct reports feel like they can approach you, and make an effort to address their concerns when they do.
‘I Apologize’ or ‘That Was My Fault’
The phrase ‘I’m sorry’ in the workplace has been vilified as a sign of weakness, but this is a mistake. Apologizing or accepting fault when you are in the wrong and working to rectify your mistakes shows great strength and accountability. Leaders must especially be willing to admit their failings.
Acknowledging your mistakes must be followed with redemptive actions, or else your apologies will sound hollow. Ask for help or guidance if needed, so that you don’t make the same mistakes in future. Avoid blame-shifting and finger-pointing at all costs. Personal accountability will show your team that you hold yourself to a high standard, and that you recognize your own humanity and fallibility. In today’s humanized workplace, this will cultivate respect for your leadership and deepen your team’s trust in you.
Giving respect to others is one of the best ways to ensure that they will develop genuine respect for you. There are many ways to show respect in the workplace: speaking with kindness, allowing others to air their opinions, and giving the right attention and feedback when necessary. Professionalism is about laying aside any personal biases and acting respectfully towards colleagues and supervisors. In doing so, you will earn the respect of others around you, regardless of your or their rank.
To improve your leadership skills, meet with an Executive Career Coach! A Career Coach will work with you to identify your personal strengths and challenges and how you can grow as a leader in your field.