How do people perceive respect?
- Tone of voice
- Nonverbal communication/body language
- How new processes and policies are established in the workplace
- Compensation, rewards and incentives initiatives
- Delegation and how assignments are given
- Degree to which collaboration is valued and employee opinions are perceived
- How feedback is given and received
Demonstrating respectful communication in the workplace makes it a safer, happier and more productive environment where individuals feel free to share their opinions, be themselves and support one another.
Here’s how you can invoke (or improve) respectful communication in your workplace:
1. Consider Opposing Viewpoints
Listen and consider the viewpoints of other team members, not just when it’s convenient or lines up perfectly with your own views.
If your mentality is “my way or the highway,” you could be stifling your team from sharing even better ideas than what you could come up with on your own.
Try this: If a team member shares a dissenting viewpoint, take a step back before reacting. It may be pertinent to take notes, ask questions then reconvene on the topic at a later date after you’ve had time to think it over and assess the viability of their opinion.
2. Share the Space
Not the literal physical space, but space to speak, contribute and share. For example, have you ever noticed a colleague or manager, who speaks disproportionately more than others?
They’re usually the one to talk over, cut off and ramble on and on, without giving anyone else the chance to offer their two cents.
Try this: Give a time limit to each speaker. For example, if you’re discussing a particular project or during a weekly meeting, allow each person an allotted time to speak, so when the meeting comes to a close, the last speaker isn’t scrambling to say their piece in a matter of a few short minutes.
3. Notice Your Visual Cues
You may be saying all the right words, but if your body is giving off opposing nonverbal cues, you won’t get far in gaining the trust of your team members.
Cues such as eye contact, crossing your arms, looking away, avoiding eye contact or checking your phone can be truly disrespectful to the opposite party.
Try this: If you’re prone to giving presentations or leading meeting, try recording yourself next time. When you watch the video, turn the sound off and focus solely on your body language.
If that won’t do, ask a trusted colleague or peer to give their honest feedback about how they perceive your body language.
4. Use The Appropriate Medium
Regardless of your message, assess what the appropriate medium for delivery is. For example, if you’re offering someone praise, tell them in person.
Same goes for more serious matters — don’t leave it to email, as tone can be misinterpreted and thus an ineffective way of communicating.
Try this: Ask your team members how they prefer to receive feedback — perhaps they prefer it in written form, so they can refer at any time, as opposed to in-person meetings.
We welcome your feedback — let us know how you demonstrate respect in the workplace, or if we’re missing a key tip.