By Telford Aduda
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.” These are the wise words of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher.
Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
Respecting others is an unspoken means of communication which builds strong relations between people. Respecting a person can show, with little effort, that you value him or her, that their advice and suggestions are important to you and though you might not necessarily follow what they suggest you may take it into consideration.
If Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was to be rewritten, respect would come as part of basic need. If you can ask anyone in your workplace what treatment they most want at work, they will likely top their list with the desire to be treated with dignity and respect.
These days most people, especially the younger generation, think that showing respect to someone means that you are degrading yourself. They take respect as a sign of weakness when it can be the ultimate show of strength in the right situation.
There are many ways of demonstrating respect to others (your employees, fellow workers, your employers, business partners, friends, family members, the elderly etc), but the following respectful actions will help ensure a respectful, considerate, professional work place.
• Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness.
• You can also show respect by encouraging 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, disparage or put down people or their ideas.
• Do not nit-pick, constantly criticize over 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 feel that they are treated fairly and equally. 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 any person out. Provide an equal opportunity for employees to participate in committees, task forces, or continuous improvement teams. Solicit volunteers and try to involve every volunteer.
• Praise much more frequently than you criticize. Encourage praise and recognition from employee to employee as well as from supervisors.
Respect for others and their respective roles in the workplace encourages a collegial work atmosphere. It also fosters collaboration, synergy and co-operation, which are essential ingredients for creating a workforce that values productivity, performance and the quality of its products or services. And this is the ultimate key to success.