The Issue of Respect in the Modern Workplace

“Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Something of a prickly problem?!

Something of a prickly problem?!

Respect is such an important factor in creating a positive working environment and positive working relationships with those around you. It breeds greater communication and understanding with you and your colleagues and work, indeed life as whole, without it is really quite an unthinkable and unlikeable domain to potentially find ourselves in.

Yet it hasn’t gone un-noticed recently by both myself and many of my peers that respect can at times be hard to come by. It seems that it’s not so much a given anymore. Of course respect must be earned and of course we must treat others the way we wish to be treated ourselves. Yet increasingly it would appear that the newer work force of today has lost some of that traditional understanding of regard and reverence that we would once give automatically.

Now I’m not at all about to have a rant at the younger generation. I’m just wondering if things have changed and also why? Not only that, but are people right to withhold respect to those in authority and to be questioning their values and command?

The last few years have seen those in high places, with jurisdiction and the power to make decisions for a wider audience basically quite honestly completely mess it all up! With the financial crisis, unemployment and many other hot topics and issues on the daily agenda why should the younger generation look up to their elders and think – ‘Yes they’ve made the right choices, and the results have been successful, therefore I should respect, follow and listen to them and their advice?'

Why shouldn’t we question those people, put forward better ideas, do things our own way and forget about the old values?

It’s a tricky one. Over the past few years we have increasingly seen the media report many wrong doings and very bad choices from people whom we respected and trusted. So where does that leave us?

Yet without respect we create chaos. We have to find a way and a balance of working things out for ourselves but also heeding the experience and advice of those who have gone before us. Reverence for those that have worked hard to do strong and positive things in this world must not be disregarded and must not be lost. In the workplace we cannot function without a healthy respect for those in command. We must trust and believe that they can lead us effectively otherwise what kind of environment do we have left?

So what is the secret to respect in the modern workplace? It's important to ensure we recognise there have been mistakes and focus on nurturing the new talent and ideas that are coming through. Yet we must remember to balance this effectively by continuing to encourage them to learn from not only their immediate peers but from those who have gone before them. We can't just focus on the negative and the mistakes that have been made but find heroes in our mentors that people can continue to look up to and remind them that respect is a vital component of the civil workplace and indeed the society in which we endeavour to live.