12 Tips for How To Show Respect in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 26, 2021

Respect in the workplace fosters healthy team relationships and drives you to reach shared goals. It means treating all people with dignity and appreciation. Whether you are job searching, starting a new position, or currently employed, you can set an example by treating your team with respect. In this article, we explain how to show respect in the workplace, discuss why treating people respectfully is important, and describe how you can earn the respect of others at work.

Examples of how to show respect in the workplace

Every workplace is unique, and you can show respect in various ways. Being respectful means recognizing that people have feelings, rights, unique experiences, and competencies. Here are the most common ways to show respect to others at work:

1. Listen when people speak

Show your team respect by listening actively to their opinions and acknowledging their values in the workplace. For example, allow a colleague to speak instead of interrupting to show you value their opinion about a project or topic. Doing this can lead to a healthier work environment.

Read more: What is Interpersonal Communication and How Can You Use It In the Workplace

2. Pay attention to nonverbal communication

Aside from what you say, be attentive to your nonverbal cues, such as your body language. Your teammates typically have different personalities, and you can show respect and support without talking. For example, return a smile when you notice a team member makes eye contact during a presentation and nod to show you're actively listening when they speak.

Read more: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

3. Be transparent

Another way to show respect at work is to trust your colleagues, supervisors, and managers with information and be sincere about situations. You can be transparent by sending project updates that explain why you took certain actions. Also, you can show respect by taking responsibility for an error you made and looking for ways to correct it.

4. Acknowledge your team's strengths and accomplishments

Praising people for their skills, strengths, and accomplishments shows you respect them. For example, congratulate an employer if they earn an award and celebrate with the team for reaching a milestone. Acknowledging your colleagues' strengths and celebrating their accomplishments is a great motivator and makes people feel valued and respected.

Read more: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

5. Value your team's contribution

Compliment and use recognition to treat others with respect at work. For example, you may stop by a colleague's workstation to say, "Great work in the meeting today!" Other gestures like sending an email or writing a thank-you note can make a team member feel respected.

Related: How to Thank Someone for Their Time

6. Practice politeness and professionalism

Being polite and professional in the workplace is also key. It shows you respect your team and are unbiased about the decisions you make. You can show common courtesy by maintaining a calming tone when you speak and nicely asking for a team member to rework a project's section.

Read more: Work Ethic and Success in the Workplace

7. Help your colleagues

Respect extends beyond your teammate's skills, core values, and achievements. By helping people struggling with situations or unsure about an issue, you can also show respect. Ideally, they provide the same assistance when you need it. For example, treat a colleague who is behind on their duties with respect by keeping your promise to help after confirming with your manager.

8. Include concerned team members in meetings and discussions

Meetings and discussions help to foster team bonds, and having the right people in attendance is important. By inviting concerned team members to meetings, you can provide an avenue for people to talk about their issues and concerns. While at meetings, discussions, and celebrations, ensure you build healthy relationships with everyone there.

Read more: 14 Ways to Start a Conversation (With Examples)

9. Adhere to your employer's policies and procedures

Show your commitment to being honest and ethical by following your employer's rules. You demonstrate that respect by maintaining confidentiality agreements and staying productive during work hours. Being respectful also includes following acceptable dress codes and using company resources such as vehicles and computers for work-related activities. Many employers encourage feedback about policies, especially when you prove yourself to be respectful and trustworthy.

10. Emulate the actions of people you consider respectful

In your career, you would likely meet career coaches, coworkers, and mentors whose respectful behaviour you admire. If you have a relationship with the person, reach out to ask how they developed the character trait and how it positively influenced their work. Otherwise, consider building trust before discussing issues related to respectful attitudes.

11. Be empathetic about everyone's life situation

Showing empathy is another way to prove that you value and respect someone. Empathy is the ability to understand someone's emotions by imagining yourself in their situation. Practice empathy by approaching problems from an objective perspective, asking questions to learn more about a person's viewpoint, and helping to determine a preferred solution.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

12. Improve your ability to interact with others

Developing your social skills makes it easier to interact with your coworkers, supervisors, and manager. Some skills to improve include conflict resolution and relationship management skills. Consider the following ways to develop your social skills:

  • Show interest in others: Getting to know your colleagues personally and professionally helps to build healthy relationships.

  • Create social goals: Having social goals is a good way to build your social skills, which helps to treat others with more respect.

  • Request feedback: By practising constructive criticism, you can show others that you respect their views, actions, and opinions.

  • Stay current with developments: Keeping up with current events can help start small talk about current trends, news stories, and other events.

  • Seek resources for development: Research books, courses, videos, and articles on developing social skills. Using them can also give you more ideas on how to apply your social skills respectfully.

Read more: Social Skills: Definition and Examples

Why is showing respect in the workplace important?

Here are some reasons respect is important at work:

Respect improves productivity

Being respectful helps to foster collaborative work environments. When you treat a coworker with respect, you'd be happy to work together. Doing this leads to increased collaboration, which drives faster and more efficient work completion. For example, if a bartender respects her colleague, she'd be encouraged to turn to them for help on how to handle demanding guests.

Respect enhances employee satisfaction

Working in an environment that encourages respectful attitudes leaves you with a sense of satisfaction. By showing and receiving respect, you'd be happy to retain your position at the company. You are also more likely to apply for roles that enable you to advance your career within the same organization.

Related: How to Use Organizational Culture to Find the Perfect Job

Respect can reduce stress

As an employee, knowing that others respect you may positively impact your mental health. It encourages you to share ideas and work with your peers to achieve your goals. When you and your team members do not feel stress, you can work more efficiently together.

Related: How to Thrive in a Fast-Paced Environment

Examples of how to earn respect in the workplace

While showing respect is typically the best way to achieve mutual respect, here are other ways to earn respect from others in the workplace:

1. Meet deadlines

Completing tasks on time shows your manager that you hold yourself accountable and are reliable. Ensure you communicate situations if you feel you can't complete tasks before the set time and request an extension. For example, if you have multiple projects to complete by the week's end, reach out to the client or supervisor to learn whether you can adjust the delivery time. Besides earning your employer's respect, doing this also shows you care about the project's success.

Related: Time Management Skills: Examples and Definitions

2. Keep office conversation professional

Being professional involves avoiding gossip, rumours, and other unprofessional behaviour. You can help promote unity by ensuring discussions remain private and only speaking respectfully about others in your workplace. Remain professional when talking about the decisions others make and the tasks managers assign to you as well.

Related: What is Integrity? Definition and Examples

3. Communicate well and be confident

Communicating confidently shows you are sure of things you mention and competent. If you're in a management position, be sure to convey information, such as project and changes to deadlines as soon as possible. Otherwise, relate with your team members in a friendly manner, especially when they ask for help. Effective communication also involves choosing the right words, giving your undivided attention to speakers, and asking questions respectfully.