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How to Keep Respect in a Professional Relationship

by K. Nola Mokeyane, studioD
Maintaining respect in a professional relationship encourages business growth and increases networking opportunities.

Maintaining respect in a professional relationship encourages business growth and increases networking opportunities.

It can be difficult to work with someone unless you respect them. A lack of respect can result in diminished business opportunities or a negative work performance. Cultivating a respectful, professional relationship fosters networking opportunities, business growth and makes the workday more enjoyable.

Mutual Respect

Mutual respect is necessary in any professional relationship. Without it, parties will have trouble doing business. Assertiveness is a great tool to use in establishing mutual respect in a professional relationship, says entrepreneur and career coach Joe Wilner, writing for the professional productivity website, DumbLittleMan.com. Being assertive allows you to communicate your needs without being too aggressive, which will inevitably turn others off, or too passive, which will leave you feeling resentful and unfulfilled. Just as you openly and respectfully express your business needs, allow others to do the same.


If a colleague or business associate thinks his opinions aren’t being heard or believes that you speak to him unkindly, it could have a negative effect on the business relationship. The professional development website, MindTools.com, suggests you use the seven Cs of communication. Keep conversation clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete and courteous. A respectful tone is also key to communicating effectively. Yelling and belittling others is a surefire turnoff and will hamper business opportunities.

Resolving Conflicts

Conflicts are inevitable in the workplace, notes Forbes.com contributor Mike Myatt. A situation can worsen if not addressed directly. If you and a colleague are having a conflict, use effective conflict resolution techniques -- active listening, finding a compromise and avoiding placing blame. Myatt adds that if the desire to resolve conflict in a healthy manner is there, you and your colleague will make it a priority to iron out your differences.

Learn From Each Other

Maintain a fresh appreciation for and curiosity about your colleagues and their professional insights in order to keep respect in your professional relationships. This minimizes competitive behaviors and allows you to walk away from conversations all the wiser. There is always something you can learn from others, as long as you remain open to receiving knowledge and wisdom. When you see your business associates as valuable resources, you are more likely to respect them.

About the Author

K. Nola Mokeyane has written professionally since 2006, and has contributed to various online publications, including "Global Post" and Modern Mom. Nola enjoys writing about health, wellness and spirituality. She is a member of the Atlanta Writer's Club.

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