Aretha Franklin’s popular song touts the need for respect.  Ask anyone in your workplace what treatment they most want. They will likely top their list with the desire to be treated with respect… and dignity.

Everybody needs a little respect – you know when you get it and you know when you don’t. Employers can demonstrate respect with subtle, yet persuasive communication. Here are some ideas that may help to avoid needless, insensitive, unintended disrespect.

  • Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and empathy – as you would like to be treated.
  • Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint. Try not to speak over, butt in, or cut off another person.
  • Encourage employees to express their opinions to change or improve work.  Moreover, let them know when you used their idea, or better yet, encourage that person to help implement the suggestion.
  • Never insult people, name call, disparage or put down an employee or their ideas.  Sarcasm is not considered a good management tool.
  • Do not nit-pick, constantly criticize little things, belittle, judge, demean or patronize.   Make this the guiding principle for everyone, not just management.
  • Implement procedures consistently so staff members feel that they are treated equally.  Fairness is always a good policy.
  • Include employees in meetings, discussions, training, and events when possible. While not every person can participate in all activities, don’t marginalize, exclude or leave out certain individuals.
  • Praise much more often than you criticize. Encourage recognition from employee to employee as well as from supervisors.
  • If you feel you must berate – try constructive criticism instead.
  • Temper tantrums earn little respect!

While there are many other ways to show respect at least some of these constitute a solid foundation. Implemented consistently, respectful actions should help create a more harmonious and professional environment.