What Is Respect for a Co-Worker?
Employment in a small business generally entails working with other people who make up the staff. Employees who get along well can create a congenial atmosphere. Paramount to promoting a friendly work environment is respect among co-workers. You must show basic concern for your fellow workers to coexist in the workplace. Consider ways to treat your co-workers respectfully by showing regard for their work, comfort levels and personalities.
Be honest with your co-workers so they are able to trust you and work with you in a productive manner. Honesty requires you to tell fellow employees when they act in ways that disrupt your work. For example, if a worker consistently interrupts you with discussions about her personal life, you need to tell her you can't engage in these conversations at the job. It would actually be disrespectful to her if you ignored the issue because it denies her the opportunity to address the issue with you professionally. It can also be construed as a lack of respect if you reported her behavior to management without first discussing it because you have haven't allowed her to address it with your first. Hawaii's Department of Labor and Industrial Relations recommends using polite language and phrasing your concern in a positive and light manner.
Show respect for a co-worker by acknowledging his boundaries. Don't overstep by giving advice on how to perform a work task, for example, if you aren't asked. Also, be careful not to comment on personal matter such as a co-worker's marriage or political views. Avoid discussing salary, as many people consider what someone makes to be a private matter.
Use your manners when working with other individuals. This means holding doors open, saying "please" and "thank you" and keeping your voice down while on the telephone. Respect for fellow co-workers means avoiding actions that interrupt or hinder their work processes. Never gossip with other employees about your co-worker or criticize him to management or customers. A congenial environment depends on civility, so you should be a model of behavior. Human resources consultant Barbara Richman recommends acting proactively to promote a work environment in which everyone shows respect.
Acknowledge your co-worker's achievements at work. Be the first to congratulate her on a superb accomplishment. This action shows respect for the individual and her work. It also helps increase your co-worker's self belief and helps foster a team atmosphere on the job. If you ignore a co-worker's successes, she might believe you are jealous or indifferent, either of which will make the workplace less friendly.
Empathy requires you to be sensitive to another's feelings. Demonstrate emotional intelligence when dealing with others in the workplace. This means refraining from saying things that might be hurtful. For example, if a co-worker has been recently put on a performance action plan and you know about it, you should not make comments such as, "I hope you keep your job." This would demonstrate insensitivity for the person in the situation.