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Expect respect: Encourage staff, listen to co-workers

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Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Respect: Everybody needs it and wants it.
But what is respect? And, how is it demonstrated at work?

There are simple, yet powerful, ways to demonstrate respect in the workplace. The following ideas will help you avoid needless and insensitive approaches and can avoid problems when employees disrespect each other without having that intent.

  • Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness.
  • Encourage co-workers to express opinions and ideas.
  • Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint. Never speak over, butt in, or cut off another person.
  • Use people’s ideas to change or improve work. Let employees know you used their idea, or, better yet, encourage the person with the idea to implement the idea.
  • Never insult people, name call, disparage or put down people or their ideas.
  • Do not nitpick, constantly criticize little things, belittle, judge, demean or patronize. A series of seemingly trivial actions, added up over time, constitutes bullying.
  • Treat people the same no matter their race, religion, gender, size, age, or country of origin. Implement policies and procedures consistently so people are treated fairly and equally. Such policies will ensure that they feel that way. Treating people differently can constitute harassment or a hostile work environment.
  • Include all co-workers in meetings, discussions, training, and events. While not every person can participate in every activity, do not marginalize, exclude or leave anyone out. Solicit volunteers and try to involve every volunteer.
  • Praise more frequently than you criticize. Encourage praise and recognition from employee-to-employee as well as from supervisors.
  • Remember that the golden rule does apply at work: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

There are many other ways to demonstrate respect at work, but these 10 constitute a solid foundation. If implemented consistently at work, these actions can help ensure a respectful, considerate, professional workplace.

Do you need advice on how to improve your workplace culture or environment? Contact the specialists at BCN to assist you, call us toll-free at 800-891-9911 or email



Lisandra Quinones, Human Resource Administrator