Gaining RESPECT in the Workplace

Two of the greatest humanistic and workplace needs, globally, are respect and recognition. At the end of the day, the combination of the two generates acceptance. Respect, recognition and acceptance are the missing ingredients in the arguments that surround the topics of diversity, inclusion, gender equality, LGBT equality in the workplace, and any other biases or judgements that currently affect our relationships, more specifically, in the workplace. The fact that we are actively participating in these conversations is only as important as what we are prepared to ACT on.

In the workplace there are many ways to gain the respect of your peers including, giving respect to others, being responsible, accountable, etc. Another way to gain respect and increase trust is to simply get to know your peers. Understand who they are, what they want, when they’d like to get it, where they’d like to be, and most importantly, why.

Learning to value a person for who they are as much as their contributions is fundamentally important when seeking to give and gain respect. It’s a small deposit with double the return. On one hand, it causes the other person to feel accepted and on the other, you almost instantly gain the respect of that person. It all comes down to being open to being vulnerable. In other words, it means establishing vulnerability based trust. Lencioni defines vulnerability-based trust as a place where leaders, “comfortably and quickly acknowledge, without provocation, their mistakes, weaknesses, failures, and needs for help. This culture of respect and acceptance not only has the ability to increase trust, reliability, openness, and congruence but it will immediately benefit those being served. Employees must be passionate, engaged and happy in order to have long lasting positive effects on retention, customer relationships, and profits. 

The value of learning to give and receive respect is immense and worth the effort. Creating happy workplaces is all of our jobs. It’s a task that needs to be at the top of the “to-do” list every day and nurtured through personal and professional development along with a good mix of emotional intelligence and leadership training. According to a study conducted last May by Forrester, 69% of over 5,000 survey respondents were open to new trainings and certifications to enhance the quality of their workplace and their ability to perform the tasks they are hired to complete. There are many other studies and trends that strongly suggest that employees would like their employers to invest in them. What all this says to me is that people need and want to be trained to do better and be better. The “Y” generation is a prime example of this demand because at the top of their work priorities is a healthy work/life balance, opportunities to learn, grow and be mentored, and last but not least, respect for who they are and what they believe, recognition for what they do well and assistance for what they don’t, and acceptance for who they are and what value they contribute.

“The spirit of liberty is the spirit is not too sure it is right. The spirit of liberty seeks to understand the minds of other men and other women. The spirit of liberty weighs their interests against its own without bias. The spirit of liberty knows that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded. The spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near 2,000 years ago, taught mankind a lesson that it has never quite learned and never quite forgotten – that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side-by-side with the greatest.” – Judge Learned Hand


The time for liberation is now.