Respect in the work place is vital for all members to feel valued. Respect among other elements leads to a healthy work environment for everyone. In the military and most organizations, we find that we come from different upbringings, beliefs, and value systems and these areas could cause conflict and result in a lack of respect as the outcome. It is imperative that we understand there are differences in one another and embrace them as we each individual brings various skills, talents, and abilities to the team.
Absenteeism is the practice of regularly staying away from work. There are a few underlying causes as to why employees can have a high rate of absenteeism in their work center and one of the reasons is due to low workplace morale where conflict is common. Giving respect to all parties and allowing members to have the freedom to make decisions in their duties is a great way to counteract this behavior. When this is accomplished, people will want to come to work as they will feel a sense of belonging and fulfillment.
Other ways that respect can be given in the work environment is to treat others how you want to be treated and create an inclusive office with communication and open- mindedness. People will feel that they work in an inclusive work center when there is open dialogue and feedback that is solicited for input.
When soliciting feedback, it is important to employ active listening. Active listening entails a positive experience for both the speaker and the listener. This includes paraphrasing, withholding judgement or interrupting comments.
Another item to be cognizant of when communicating and creating a respectful environment is to be mindful of nonverbal communication. According to Dr. Albert Mehrabians,the 7-38-55% Rule of Personal Communication elements are broken down into 7% spoken words, 38% voice and tone and 55% body language. This means our nonverbals speak loud and clear, cumulatively at 70-93% of our communication.
Respect starts at the top and should be communicated as an expectation in the work center but a leader's actions will speak volumes in what the expected behavior should look like. A leader should course correct their staff if they see behavior that deviates from a respectful environment.
Ultimately, respect in the work place encourages productivity, connection in building relationships, a sense of value, positive work climate and may be conveyed through verbal and nonverbal communication.
The April AFMC Connect article on respect
encourages teams to ignite engagement at a future meeting by providing everyone a question or topic in advance. It can be as simple as “What is your favorite breakfast cereal” or “What is a challenge you overcame last month?” This will promote teams to better get to know each other in a fun, light-hearted way and to find connections with similar interests or a deeper understanding of one another.