Vincy Workplace
March 11, 2011

R.E.S.P.E.C.T- What does it mean to you?

Do your actions demonstrate respect for your supervisor, manager and coworkers? If the workplace is a reflection of society at large, then the issue of respect is one that needs to be addressed for organizations which want to be successful.{{more}}

Although the good rule “Treat others as you would like to be treated” is well known and repeated often, a daily examination of almost any workplace would reveal that it is not practiced often enough. The lack of respect for each other in the workplace contributes to issues such as low productivity, insubordination, sabotage, embezzlement, and even workplace violence.

Every individual must evaluate his or her own personal behavior, but it is also the job of the organization leader to set an example by his/her interaction with everyone from the janitor to his/her second in command.

Complaints about lack of respect come in all forms and usually begin with simple infractions that eventually build into larger problems. Employers often complain of employees who have no respect for time, who show up late, leave early, take extended breaks or intrude on other coworker’s time with pointless conversations.

If you have ever left a sandwich or drink in the company fridge and return hours later to find it gone, you would understand how such a simple act can be infuriating to the owner of the missing food. The list goes on with everything from gossip, publicly challenging supervisors and managers in a confrontational manner to the use and abuse of coworker’s property.

Because everyone does not have your view of respect, the key to respect is to command it not demand it. Your actions, your conversation, your appearance will teach others how to treat you. Telling someone to respect you carries no weight if your actions are contradictory. Respect should be given first as it is an indication of who you are and what you value and it should not stop because someone else is disrespectful. Your consistent positive behavior might actually be an example to someone who may be just learning what it means to be respectful.

Although respect is an individual’s responsibility, organizations should have some basic written standards of behavior that are upheld so a culture of respect is demonstrated throughout the organization.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to

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