9 Ways to Model Respect with Staff, Students, & Colleagues

Decorative: The "Respect Cycle" with "Give Respect" leading to "Get Respect," which leads to "Give Respect" and so on continually


A. "Tim Cook Powerfully Expressed the Importance of Showing Respect. Here Are Nine Ways to Show Employees More of It" (post) notes that "We're all capable of treating ohters with dignity and respect -- it's a choice."

  • Tim Cook: "Wouldn't it be great if everyone woke up and said, from now on I'm treating people with dignity and respect. There would be so many problems in the world that would go away."
  • "[M]aking respect a priority and value can have a ripple effect that changes a company's entire culture."

1. A Sad Reality

  • "We can unintentionally engage in behaviors at work (and in life) that cause unintended tension or that send the wrong signal -- little unnecessary violations of one's dignity and respect."
  • "Quiet little foibles that speak loudly and say things like 'You're not worthy of my time and attention,' or 'You aren't important to me.'"

2. Some Sad Numbers

  • "98 percent of employees experience workplace incivility, with 50 percent experiencing it minimally every single week."
  • "The cost is estimated at $14,000 per employee annually from distracted, disheartened employees and the resulting productivity impact."

B. 9 Ways to Show More Respect -- "[L]ittle doses of dignity to ingrain in your day-to-day"

1. "Inquire and Listen - Really Listen" 

  • "Put your phone down."
  • "Paraphrase the [person's] main points to show you're listening and absorbing."
  • "Don't let others interrupt when [a] [person] is talking."
  • "Practice the W.A.I.T. principle and ask yourself "Why Am I Talking?" (instead of listening)."
  • "[W]hen you don't [really listen], it's a direct affront to how valued the [person] feels." 

2. "Stay Available and Approachable"

  • "When you stay approachable and available, you're recognizing that [people] need your time."
  • "You don't have to choose between being professional and personable."

3. "Be Proactive in Seeking Out Others' Opinions"

  • "[People] want to know that their opinion matters."
  • "[They] feel respected when they're sought out for their opinion (especially for those not ordinarily in the decision making process)."
  • If you "forget to solicit [their] opinion," they may well "eventually sto[p] wanting to give [their] opinion because [they] doub[t] it would be appreciated."  

4. "Be Mindful of the Other's State of Mind"

  • "Being sensitive to what may be going on at work and in [people's] lives shows you respect the fact that we're human beings before we're [staff, students, or colleagues]."

5. "Be Respectful of Different Styles of Communication"

  • "[A]ccep[t] and rewar[d] [people] for who they are and adjus[t] to individual styles."
  • "You can show blatant impatience that their communication style doesn't match yours, or you can be patient and accommodating."

6. "Be On Time, Every Time"

  • "There's no clearer way to say that you don't respect [a] [person's] time (and him or her by default) than to waste it by showing up late."

7. "Recognize Others' Existence"

  • "Yes, I mean the simplicity of saying 'Hi' in the halls. To everyone."
  • "Too simple and obvious to bother with? Think of what it says when you don't."

8. "Show Respect for the Past"

  • "[T]rashing how things were done in the past ... [is] tremendously disrespectful to those who did the work."

9. "Respect Social Comfort Zones"

  • "Use humor, but never cruel humor that comes at the cost of another human being."
  • "Dignity and respect really can solve so many problems; in the world at large, in the work world, and in your world."
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