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Steps to Building Trust & Respect in the Workplace

by Cynthia Myers

Trust and respect between employees, management and co-workers creates a positive work atmosphere. People who trust and respect each other work together as a team, share a common commitment and learn from each other. But trust and respect aren't automatic, given the varied backgrounds and levels of experience that may come together within a company. The best companies create an environment where it's easy to build trust and respect at all levels.

Listening

Both management and employees foster trust by listening to what each person has to say. Management sets the example by reserving time in every meeting for employees to provide their ideas and input. Employees within a team can practice listening to each other and providing feedback on what they hear. Workshops that teach listening skills and provide role playing exercises can help improve listening skills.

Inviting Participation

Managers should solicit input, even from employees who don't volunteer their ideas and opinions. You can do this one-on-one or in meetings with teams. Accept the input in a non-judgmental manner, allowing for more ease when seeking future input. The Enterprise Management Development Academy suggests identifying team members' strengths and talents and finding ways for them to utilize these strengths and talents on the job. Pairing more experienced employees with newer workers in a mentoring environment also encourages participation and inclusion.

Consistency

People who tell the truth, follow through on their commitments, and treat everyone equally earn the respect and trust of others. Both management and employees should practice consistent behavior. Consistency allows everyone in the company to know what to expect from the job and from each other. This allows any employee, no matter what level, to not only trust their colleagues, but to gain confidence that they are also trusted.

Respect

While listening and including employees fosters respect, other workplace habits create an environment in which everyone feels respected. Discrimination, gossip and harassment are examples of behavior that are disrespectful. Companies can combat these behaviors with training for both management and employees on how to recognize and prevent these behaviors. Mission statements that preach respect and recognition of all employee achievements can also create respect.

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