Respect One of the Keys to Success in any Arena
There are some people who say that respect must be earned. What do you think?
When I have heard that respect must be earned it usually has been related to a boss earning the respect of her or his subordinates. In those cases the earning of respect has usually had to do with the boss setting an example by his or her behavior, first and foremost demonstrating respect to her or his subordinates. In many cases it has also been related to the competence of the boss or the level of communication, both outgoing and incoming (listening) or the ability of the boss to provide tools and help solve problems.
I believe that although respect must be earned by a boss, in the role of a boss, respect in general is something that can be expected by anyone in the workplace or anywhere else for that matter.
Respect in the workplace is really about each of us being conscious of the feelings of everyone else in our work environment. Since, as far as I know, none of us are mind readers we can never really know how anyone else is feeling or interpreting what we do or say. We all come to work each day and bring “who we are” with us. There is no way to be somebody different when we come to work. We can try but we can’t do it. Is there any way to leave everything you have experienced and learned over the span of your life at home? In other words can you leave who you really are at home? The truth is you can’t so you may as well face the fact that who you are is always with you. This fact alone makes it important for you to consider that whoever you are interacting with at work has a different set of experiences and beliefs
than you do, starting with the fact that you have different parents, and building your experiences from there forward.
What does all of this conversation about who we are have to do with respect? I believe everything.
When relating to others in the workplace we can never really know how what we say or do will feel to the person hearing what we say or experiencing our behavior. Considering this fact, it is always best to treat others in a way that can leave no doubt about whether or not we respect them. Any comments about areas that could be sensitive to anyone should be avoided. Comments about age, ethnic background, religion, sexual preferences or sexuality at all are good ones to avoid. It is very easy to get comfortable with people at work and develop relationships where you feel that you have the freedom to press the envelope in some of these areas through casual teasing and innuendos that may not cause discomfort out side work but may cause a big problem in a work environment.
There is no reason to not have fun at work. After all, we all spend more hours of our week with the people we work with than any other group of people so why not enjoy them? We all should enjoy our co-workers and have fun with them and get to know them. At the same time we need to be conscious that the work environment is a unique one and we need to always be aware of the value of respecting each other and never thinking we have the approval and freedom to cross those invisible barriers with comments and actions. Since we can’t read minds, and we all interpret what we hear or see and how we feel about it differently, based on who we are, it is good to be cautious in what we say and how we say it as well as the actions we take.
If we all work toward good relationships, expect the best, always provide support, see the positive side of everything, work toward an enjoyable environment, understand we are part of a community and always apply tact in everything we do at work we will be moving toward a workplace full of RESPECT.