Is respect key to positive organisational performance?

A workplace where everyone, no matter what their status, is treated with dignity and respect is a workplace where good stuff happens

According to a 2004 Gallup study of 50,000 workers across 27 countries, respect is the number one driver for workplace engagement. Respect is perhaps the most fundamental ingredient for positive workplace performance. It is the base from which other benefits will grow.

What does respect mean?

It means having consideration for yourself and others around you. Above all, it means thinking about whether you treat everyone equally and acknowledge their views. Respect isn’t something that automatically comes with seniority.

Respect and Performance

Jane Dutton, co-founder of the Center for Positive Organisations at the University of Michigan, writes:

“The key to transforming the workplace experience is to build and nurture high-quality connections, people feel more open, competent and alive”

Dutton’s research has found that organisations with high levels of respect enhances both individual and collective creativity. People are more likely to share their ideas and be motivated to contribute collectively when fostering openness and acceptance. Therefore, enhancing the quality of team collaboration and relationships.

Respect also has a positive impact on retention. Writing in Harvard Business Review, assistant professor of management at Marquette University, Kirstie Rogers says:

“A respectful workplace brings enormous benefits to organisations. Employees who say they feel respected are more satisfied with their jobs and more grateful for their companies. They are more resilient, cooperate more with others, perform better and are more likely to take direction from their leaders”

In conclusion, having such a positive energy leads to reduced conflict and improves wellbeing by creating a happy work environment. So, what happens if you get it wrong? Studies show that 48% of workers who are not being treated with respect intentionally decrease their work effort. Similarly, 38% deliberately decrease the quality of their work.

Respect and Strengths

Respect and strengths are inextricably linked. By questioning your skills and abilities, you won’t be able to reach your full potential. Take time to understand your own strengths and then learn to respect them and how they contribute to the workplace.

Similarly, when it comes to other people, think about your colleagues’ strengths. For example, respect their uniqueness and practice respectful engagement. As a result this should help with intelligent collaboration and higher performance.

Ron McMillan, in his 2002 book Crucial Conversations, sums up this topic well:

“Respect is like air. As long as it’s present, nobody thinks about it. But if you take it away, it’s all that people can think about”

People Solutions

At Bailey & French we bring a unique and human approach to leadership, performance motivation, wellbeing, team effectiveness and strengths development. We want to help empower and enable people to perform and thrive.


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Wishing you a positive rest of week.

The Bailey & French team