7 Keys to Getting and Keeping Respect in the Workplace

7 Keys to Getting and Keeping Respect in the Workplace

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In the workplace, respect is critical to job satisfaction and overall success. In a study released in April 2016, the Society for Human Resource Management identified respectful treatment of employees as the most important factor contributing to job satisfaction.  That’s big!

Accountability is not solely on the employer. As an employee, you are responsible for taking appropriate action to establish respect. Of course, we cannot force respect; however, we can do our part. In Aretha Franklin-style, let’s break down what R-E-S-P-E-C-T really means. Using the acronym below, we’ll explore seven keys to building respectful relationships–to increase job satisfaction and build a winning brand.

R–Remember, attitude is everything: You can change the trajectory of your life with a shift in outlook and change of attitude. Instead of focusing on the negative, find value in every interaction. A method that I find helpful is thought-awareness, in which I pay close attention to how I am perceiving a situation and why I may be viewing it negatively. It allows me to quickly self-correct before I allow negativity to impact my behavior.

E–Establish credibility: An easy way to establish credibility is to be consistently authentic. Growing up in the ’80s, we used to say “Word is bond” to confirm that what we were saying was true. In business, let your word be your bond. Words and behaviors should match, and you should follow through on all commitments–verbal and written. Mastering this tip will certainly position you as a trusted resource.

S–Self-assess regularly. This is one of my favorite personal development strategies. Self-awareness and a willingness to take responsibility for your contribution to successes and challenges at work are golden. A great practice is self-assessing.

Commit to taking time out daily to self-assess. Reflect on the day, highlighting accomplishments as well as failures. Identify what you are doing well and what areas may need improvement. This will put you on the path to effective self-correction and action planning.

P–Prepare for next level. To position yourself for success, preparation is key. How should you prepare? Do your homework, know the key players, understand the organizational structure, and know the organization’s goals. It is easier to align with the right people and projects when you clearly understand the organization’s mission, values, and culture.

E–Engage with your workplace. Don’t just show up, get involved! Take advantage of growth opportunities; they are everywhere! These may be opportunities to connect with co-workers, volunteer for a project, participate in community service, or join committees.

C–Communicate effectively. In communication, be sure to put your best foot forward. Be mindful of the words you use and your body language. The key to effective communication is ensuring that the message you are sending is understood as intended.

T–Think strategically. When planning, think about barriers that could get in the way of successes, and identify workarounds. Instead of having one solution to every problem, have solution options, so you can always move forward even when obstacles arise.


Tap into the power of you! Using these keys will help to better position you for success. Do you have strategies that you have found to be effective in gaining and maintaining respect? We would love to hear from you. Please post your tips in the comments below.


Kimberly A. Ferguson is a learning & development consultant, career development facilitator, trainer, certified educator, host of StrategicMinds.tv, and a regular contributor for the Trenton365 Radio Show. Learn more about Kimberly at www.kfergspeaks.com and follow on Twitter @kfergspeaks.