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Great workplaces, organizations and teams are rooted in respect. Interestingly enough, respect is both a noun and verb, meaning it is not only a ‘thing’ that is cultivated, but it is demonstrated and built through consistent action. Here are some core components to creating a culture of respect across any organization.

Recognition. When it comes to recognition, there are two key factors: recognizing the shared humanity in everyone across every interaction, as well as acknowledging individuals and teams for their work, performance and contributions. Organizational recognition comes through fair pay and policies, as well as frequent, specific, personal and public praise for work well done from leaders and peers.

Empathy. Taking the time to actively listen, avoiding assumptions and stereotypes, appreciating differences, and communicating respectfully during disagreements are just some of the many ways to treat people with empathy. Demonstrating empathy ultimately makes people feel understood, which strengthens leadership, relationships and performance at work.

Support. Showing support goes hand in hand with empowerment. This includes assuring that each individual and team has the proper information, resources and tools to perform their roles and functions at the best of their ability; as well as creating an environment that prioritizes people’s personal well-being, family life, mental wellness and livelihood.

Patience. It is easier to treat people with respect when times are good, but it’s more important to treat people with respect when things are stressful, difficult, and frustrating. In these moments, leaning into patience, with oneself and others, is a healthy approach for all.

Encouragement. When people feel encouraged to grow personally and professionally, they are often more committed long-term and motivated to excel. Creating open forums for sharing ideas and welcoming feedback, providing opportunities to education and advancement, and celebrating successes, big and small, can foster encouragement across the organization.

Community. A sense of community is an intangible yet critical piece to any thriving organization, and it develops when everyone feels they are making a meaningful contribution, helping each other out when needed, and cooperating to achieve a shared vision. Communities are also strengthened by a diversity of thought, skills and experiences where differences are embraced and respected.

Trust. Employees need to feel they can count on their employer to be honest, in good times and bad. Being appropriately transparent, owning mistakes, keeping true to promises, and following through on words with actions are all behaviors that build and maintain trust.

Everyone can do their part in creating a safe and healthy work environment, built on mutual respect, and leadership certainly sets the standard. For more information on cultivating self-respect, learning respectful communication, or building healthier relationships personally and professionally, it may help to speak to a clinician through your Assistance Program. 

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