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How To Build A Culture Of Respect

I was having tea with our staff and the topic of culture came up. We realized that for good culture to flourish, there are a few key fundamental values; the biggest of which is the value of Respect.

Culture flows everywhere in an organization and the hallmarks of a positive culture are a cohesive team that works hard, has fun, achieves the mission of the business. It means having a set of values that everybody knows and can work towards. It means connecting with customers and creating a fertile positive energy that pours fluidly and allows all these groups to feel connected. Cultures that lead towards self actualization for the individuals are  ideal (for a great book on that check out Peak, by Chip Conley. It’s all about applying Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in the workplace.

6 Ways To Foster Respect

1. Respect is a gift
Respect can only be given. You cannot take it. You cannot force it. You cannot extract it. If respect is earned, others give it freely. It can’t be faked or falsified. If others give respect, it’s because it was genuinely earned.

2. Give first, then get
In order to “get” this gift, you’ve got to first give it! Rarely is respect given to a person, if they don’t first give it to others. It’s transparent and can’t be faked. If you genuinely  “give” respect to others, you’ll be on your way to getting some in return.

3. Listen with all your senses
One surefire way of respecting others is to genuinely listen. Keep your mind totally blank and simply “be there,” presently, open to what they are really saying. Pay attention to their words. To their eyes. To their body language. Don’t respond immediately. Just listen. Pause. And consider what this other person is really communicating. A great book on the art and crave of listening  is Just Listen.

4. Restate to be clear
Restate in your own words what the other person said. There’s so much room for misunderstanding in the world today because communication happens so quickly. We try to take a lesson from the slowness of tea and find that being slower with communication, and less snappy on the “submit button,” that we are clearer and more efficient in the long run. Rephrase what the other person said, in your own words, so they are confident you really listened and heard them.

5. Connect
Take in what the other person is saying and consider what they really want. They might be asking for a raise, but they might really be asking for more personal freedom. If you can connect to their deeper needs and wants, not just what they’re explicitly saying, you’ll have a chance for a more profound connection over implicit needs. These are less obvious and yet more powerful. If you can connect to the feelings, and really see where the other person is coming from, they will feel heard, and be more open to listening to you, connecting, and ultimately to respecting you.

6. Discuss what matters
OK – so you’ve listened and connected and still there’s disagreement? That’s ok! You don’t have to always come to agreement or harmony in order to have respect. If you’re fair, open, clear and you truly listened and connected – the odds are that respect will  flourish. You don’t need to be friends with others in order to respect them. Liking is for friends and lovers. Respect is for fostering effective teams that are aligned and that achieve huge goals. At work, it’s ideal if we all like each other, but, it’s just not always possible.

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