101 Behaviors that Promote Respect in the Workplace

Editor’s Note: Here are 101 ways to promote respect in the workplace. For more information on the subject, see the feature article in the Fall 2017 issue of LTEN Focus on Training magazine, now available at www.L-TEN.org/Focus.

1. Ask someone for his/her opinion or idea.
2. Acknowledge and compliment others for their accomplishments and contributions.
3. Remain humble when it comes to your own accomplishments.
4. Always be on time for meetings.
5. Let other meeting participants know in advance if you will be late, have to leave early, or must take an urgent call.
6. Start and end meetings you lead on time.
7. Keep meetings in line with their stated agenda – regardless of whether you are leading the meeting.
8. Be supportive of others’ ideas during meetings.
9. Give others your undivided attention when in conversation. Stop texting and emailing!
10. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to a new employee and then introduce him/her to others in your department.
11. Admit and take responsibility for your mistakes.
12. Ask a colleague what they are working on and how it’s going – especially someone in another department. (This must be done with authentic interest and without appearing “nosy.”)
13. Ask someone to give you feedback on your work.
14. Acknowledge when others’ ideas are better than your own.
15. Take the initiative to resolve a long standing issue with a colleague or let it go.
16. Let others know what you are thinking – don’t assume they are mind-readers!
17. If someone appears confused or concerned, ask if you can answer any questions.
18. Admit when you don’t know something.
19. When you are confused, ask questions.
20. Ask people if they would like to be put on, or remain on, an email distribution list.
21. Comment on a picture on someone’s desk, e.g., “Is that a picture of your daughter?”
22. Ask someone from another department how you could be a better partner and serve them more effectively.
23. Invite someone you don’t know well out for lunch.
24. Ask the person who tends to say the least in a meeting to share his/her thoughts first.
25. Follow-through on commitments. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
26. Be in communication as soon as you realize that you will not be able to fulfill on expectations, e.g., being late for a meeting or failing to get work done on time.
27. As soon as you realize that you have acted disrespectfully, reach out to the individual and sincerely apologize.
28. Be inclusive, e.g., if you see someone eating lunch alone ask if you may join him/her or if he/she would like to join you or your group.
29. Be patient and give others the time they need to reflect on an issue, ask questions, share their thoughts, or come to a decision.
30. Be positive and upbeat. Don’t walk around complaining!
31. Take care of your personal hygiene, e.g., use deodorant, brush your teeth, gargle with mouthwash, and use breath mints; avoid applying to much cologne or perfume – if in doubt ask a colleague or just use less!
32. Be clear when letting others know what you expect from them.
33. Come to meetings fully prepared to participate.
34. Act courteously at all times, e.g., hold the door open, say, “thank you,” “hello,” “good morning,” and, “have a nice weekend.”
35. Treat your vendors with respect by making sure to be prepared and on time for all meetings, and to follow-up as promised.
36. Ask customers how you could provide them with better service.
37. Take the time to educate customers on how to better utilize your products and services.
38. Be patient when interacting with an upset customer or colleague; keep your cool and don’t become defensive or aggressive.
39. If you identify a problem with a product or service be proactive in reaching out to clients, e.g., “An issue has come to my attention and I wanted to apologize for this inconvenience and to let you know what steps are being taken to address it.”
40. Regularly review and bring to life the core values of your organization.
41. Find opportunities to coach and mentor others.
42. Give “straight” feedback in a supportive and constructive manner.
43. Don’t interrupt others when they are speaking.
44. Let people know that you admire the quality of their work.
45. Give people as much advanced notice as possible when you’ll need something from them – don’t ask them at the last minute!
46. Give people appropriate interpersonal space – about an arm’s length away in Western culture; don’t hover over another’s shoulder or work area.
47. Respect others’ privacy; don’t eavesdrop or ask prying questions – if they want you to know they will tell you!
48. Stay late to help out a colleague.
49. Act honestly in all dealings, no half-truths or choosing to be selective in the information you share.
50. Instead of barging into someone’s office or work space and assuming that he/she has time for you, ask if he/she has a few minutes (or whatever time you need) or if he/she would prefer that you come back at a different time.
51. Act with integrity at all times. (“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” ~ Thomas Jefferson.)
52. If you fail to meet a commitment, take responsibility and do whatever you can to rectify the situation. Don’t try to shift the blame onto others!
53. Leave an appreciative or congratulatory note on someone’s desk.
54. Tell someone that you value his/her opinion.
55. Let someone know that you appreciate being on the same team with him/her.
56. Let your boss know how glad you are to be working with him/her. (If this is true!)
57. Look people in the eye when speaking to them.
58. Demonstrate pride and loyalty by speaking positively about your organization.
59. Take pride in your physical environment, e.g., cleaning up the kitchen area, replace a filled trash bag, keep conference rooms clean and neat, pick up stray pieces of paper and paperclips on the floor, replace empty toilet paper and paper towel holders or inform the party responsible for doing so.
60. Make sure others have the information they need to be successful.
61. Demonstrate perseverance and don’t let roadblocks stop you from getting the job done.
62. Take initiative to make something better or fix a problem.
63. When someone makes a mistake don’t make them feel incompetent, rather, help them learn from it; view mistakes as learning opportunities.
64. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
65. Be transparent and explain the “why” behind your actions and decisions.
66. Ask others’ for the “why” behind their actions and decisions. (This must be done in the spirit of understanding another’s thought process and not with the intent of being critical.)
67. When you get upset, take a time out and collect your thoughts; speak to your boss or trusted colleague about what happened and the best way to handle the situation.
68. Respect the chain of command; don’t go over someone’s head unless you must.
69. Respond promptly to emails and phone calls even if it is just to acknowledge the communication and give an estimate of when you will reply.
70. Say “thank you” to someone who has provided you with critical feedback in a constructive and supportive manner.
71. Seek to understand others’ perspectives – especially when you disagree.
72. Serve as a mentor to a newly hired employee.
73. Demonstrate empathy with comments such as, “I’m sorry to hear about what happened.”
74. Offer to lend a hand to a team member – especially when he/she is struggling!
75. Sincerely ask someone what they did over the weekend.
76. Always speak in a calm manner.
77. Refuse to listen to gossip and certainly don’t be its source.
78. Speak positively about a colleague – especially to those higher up in the organization.
79. Ask a co-worker about his/her hobbies and interests.
80. Thank others when they show you support and consideration.
81. Don’t say one thing and do another.
82. When presenting your ideas use language such as, “I’d like to offer my perspective.”
83. Take the time to make sure that you have all the relevant facts before making a decision or jumping to a conclusion.
84. Avoid judging others. (You’re not perfect either.)
85. Dress professionally.
86. Use professional language; no profanity.
87. Use paraphrasing to let others know that you have been actively listening, e.g., “Let me be sure I understand your point of view.”
88. Ask people their preferred mode of communication, e.g., in-person, telephone, or email.
89. Cover your mouth/nose when you cough/sneeze. (And wash your hands!)
90. Don’t include sensitive information in emails.
91. Be sensitive to cultural differences.
92. Avoid rambling.
93. Keep private conversations private!
94. Walk around and greet those already at work when you arrive.
95. Ask someone how you can help cover for them when they are going away on vacation.
96. Say, “Hello” to everyone you pass in the hallway.
97. Hold others accountable for meeting agreed upon commitments.
98. Be considerate of others’ personal time during non-work hours.
99. Talk to people, not about them.
100. Serve as a role model in living your organization’s core values.
101. Treat others as you would want to be treated!

Dr. Paul Marciano is the author of Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work. Email Paul at Paul@PaulMarciano.com.

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