Part of practicing respect at work is being willing to invest time in each other for the purpose of increasing our awareness. By getting a better sense of what’s similar in our experiences and what’s unique, we eventually figure out what’s important to each other as well. This “court awareness” dramatically increases both our predictability around each other and our efficiency at getting work done.

As important as the pursuit of increased awareness is, there is another part of the definition of Respect that that really gives it its impact. It’s the requirement we hold ourselves to that each time we engage each other, we do so in a manner that esteems both of us at the same time. What this means is that we intentionally find a way to (verbally and extra-verbally) communicate a sense of worth and value to each other. Within this framework, even difficult conversations become easier because of the increased trust in each other’s intentions.

Think about it. If we did nothing different as co-workers after today except we make it our shared responsibility to esteem one another, do you think that would make a difference? Holding up a mirror to show somebody the value that they create for us and for others in the organization…that’s what esteem is all about and it’s the essence of the true impact of Respect. When someone has truly respected me, I feel valued in their presence. This is a critical ingredient for both engagement and inclusion.