Building A Respectful Workplace – It’s All About Me

Building A Respectful Workplace – It’s All About Me


Building a Respectful Workplace

Your colleagues are not bad people. And we do not get out of bed and turn up for work determined to make each other’s lives uncomfortable. We simply display behaviours that, over time, make life at work more difficult than it needs to be.

It’s more than likely that your workplace has at least one disgruntled or seemingly disrespectful employee. Whether their behaviour is deliberate or subconscious, it can often lead to the rest of the workplace feeling “on edge”

Let’s examine some of the typical behaviours that your colleagues may display at work – behaviours you may feel you  “have to put up with” from colleagues, but you would rather not:

  • Margaret likes to claim that “she always does the washing up..sharpens the pencils…replaces paper in the printer”
  • Nigel makes out that he has “always parked against the wall near the lift…”it is my parking spot”
  • Jason leaves his mobile phone by his computer when he leaves his desk, and his colleagues are expected to answer it and tell the confused caller that they’re not sure when he will return the call
  • Leah cycles to work and leaves her bike gear lying around the office. Colleagues feel they have to put up with her dirty laundry drying
  • Ziggy takes everything personally. Employees discuss company protocols for meetings – everyone is expected to turn up on time and to be prepared. And, each time this is mentioned, Ziggy reminds the team that he often needs to drop his daughter off at daycare in the morning, leaving the team feeling that Ziggy thinks “it’s all about him”.

Too many workplaces rely on a common understanding of the organization’s values – typically respect, honesty, teamwork and accountability – as being sufficient to have everyone behaving appropriately. Put to the test, however, we often find that not everyone will agree on what these values mean in a day-to-day behaviour. With up to four generations of people together at work and cultural and family background differences, is it asking too much of employees to find a common understanding of the kind of words commonly found in an organisation’s values – without giving them the opportunity of spelling out the clear standards and boundaries around behaviour that make sense in their team?

Here are some ways your organizations can begin (or continue) the transformation to not tolerating unhelpful behaviour at work – and helping to build more respectful workplaces:

  • Create and use a checklist
  • training and induction
  • team charter
  • lines of communication
  • speak up

Excerpt from National Safety Magazine read more 

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