Are you still tolerating or already respecting?

Why mutual respect is crucial, why boundaries should be respected, and why entrepreneurs need to invest in diversity and inclusion to work together for a better future.

At MoreDiversity we believe that mutual respect should be evident throughout the workplace (on-site and home office). This starts with accessibility and extends to netiquette rules for emails and chats between colleagues. We believe respect plays a critical role in face-to-face conversations, written communication, body language, and the way we interact with each other. Of course, you don’t always have to agree with other people’s ideas or beliefs, but you should at least listen to them.

What is respect, actually?

Respect is the basis for humane and ethical behavior, and mutual respect is the basis for good personal and professional relationships. Having respect for another person means fundamentally believing in their right to be heard and to have the same opportunities as everyone else. It does not mean ignoring the differences between people or simply tolerating them. Rather, it is about recognizing differences, understanding their significance, and treating them with interest and courtesy.

Why mutual respect is so important

Imagine working with someone who doesn’t respect you. You may not even have to imagine it, you may already be experiencing it: a colleague treats you condescendingly, devalues your work, withholds important information from you, or doesn’t invite you to meetings that could be useful for your work. Lack of mutual respect not only jeopardizes the actual work, but it can also damage self-esteem and the whole thing can lead to bullying or harassment. That’s why it’s so important that each of us treats everyone with respect, no matter how different the other person may seem.

Practical tip

If someone behaves rudely or disrespectfully toward you or someone else, you should carefully consider whether it is best to confront the person yourself or whether you need the assistance of a supervisor or Human Resources. However, you should not simply accept and tolerate the whole thing.

Get to know each other

Sometimes people are disrespectful out of carelessness or ignorance. To counteract this, you should encourage others to take an interest in each other’s beliefs, behaviors and preferences. A respectful workplace means taking the time to understand and learn from the diversity of colleagues, customers, and service providers, and also to question your own triggers and unconscious biases.

If needed, you can also participate as a team in workshops on active and mindful listening to improve communication and understanding within the organization. Of course, this only works if there is an atmosphere of trust and no one feels pressured to reveal or explain more than he or she would like to.

Encourages good manners

Good manners are a clear sign of the respect you have for someone. For example, if you work with people from other countries or with a disability, you should ask about their background, possible rules and needs. You can still make mistakes, but your efforts will usually convince your counterpart of your good intentions. When in doubt, it is most respectful to simply ask other people how they would like to be treated.

Halte Grenzen ein

Not everything should be shared with colleagues, and not all communication is appropriate for work. Political campaigning, for example, or trying to talk down the views of others can create unnecessary tension and jeopardize mutual respect. It is important to know where the boundaries lie between sharing experiences and views on the one hand and confrontation on the other. Therefore, think carefully about what you share with others and avoid sensitive topics.

Why entrepreneurs should invest in diversity and inclusion

As we operate in a global economy, we automatically need to create a respectful environment that welcomes all our diversity in order to be competitive at all. The ability to move easily between different cultures, understand different points of view and collaborate on a global basis are the new skills of a successful company. Once you take advantage of diversity and inclusion, you can better understand markets in which you operate and anticipate the needs of your customers, which can lead to closer business relationships and a more successful company.

Does your company already promote a culture of respect?
Do all management levels listen to the concerns of their employees and give them feedback?
Do all employees feel valued?
Do all employees feel comfortable approaching HR or management with their concerns?
Does the work environment encourage the open and free expression of ideas, opinions and beliefs?
Are performance measures considered consistent and fair?
Do employees understand how their compensation is determined and is it communicated transparently within the company?
Are conflicts handled in a professional, respectful and effective manner?

The world will never stop being diverse, quite the opposite. It is full of fabulous, new adventures and experiences that come to those who seek them. The key is that sometimes we need to leave the comfortable and familiar path and venture into the noise and chaos to discover the unimagined benefits that come from promoting diversity and inclusion.

Together, let’s create the future we want and need – a future built on respect!

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