Asian businessman and young female executive bowing

Whatever your generation, you probably know Aretha Franklin’s famous lyric, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Find out what it means to me.”

The topic of respect often comes up in my work with teams when we discuss what each person needs to be most productive.  Although everyone agrees conceptually that respect is important, it is essential to find out the specifics.

Why and How

As this Indeed article highlights, respect reduces stress, increases productivity and collaboration, improves employee satisfaction, and creates a fair environment.  Indeed lists these general ways to show respect:

  1. Listen to what everyone has to say
  2. Pay attention to nonverbal communication
  3. Practice transparency
  4. Recognize the strengths and accomplishments of others
  5. Value the time and workloads of others
  6. Delegate meaningful work
  7. Practice common courtesy and politeness
  8. Prevent bias (even implicit bias)
  9. Include everyone in meetings, discussions and celebrations
  10. Consider how others view you and your actions
  11. Help your peers

Customize to Maximize Impact

In addition to the general ways of showing respect, Brené Brown recommends the “paint done” approach:  ask someone to describe what their desired outcome looks, sounds and feels like.  For some people, respect looks like eye contact, sounds like being heard and feels like their perspective matters.  For others, it looks like giving them space, sounds like silence until they are ready to talk and feels like they aren’t being pressured.

How would you describe what respect means to you?