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The Respect Agenda

By September 24, 2012Leadership

Words often lose their power if they are over used. The word Respect has been taken as the name of political parties and is used heavily in a pop culture.

Respect is often used in workplace and leadership values and mission statements. But without qualification or clarity as to what it means in real behavioural terms, the word is ignored; detracting from what real respect is about.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of respect is the “due regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others”. In order to give proper regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others we need to look inward before looking outward. The starting point is not just our self understanding but also our honest self appreciation.

This deeply complicated issue with two clear dimensions going to the heart of how we feel about ourselves and others – unless we respect our selves, we cannot respect others. It is the “I am OK –You’re OK” solution of Thomas Harris and Transactional Analysis. Until we genuinely show and behave with respect we cannot lead, or indeed love.

We like particularly the qualification and practical meaning given to the the word by one of our clients, where Respect is one of their six core values. It is, they say, “the foundation of partnership.” For them there are 5 key aspects of Respect.

  • Respect is based on the concept of humanity and human dignity
  • Respect generates an atmosphere of esteem, fairness and recognition
  • Respect requires open and honest communication
  • Respect enables us to work successfully in difference cultures and with different people
  • Respect means valuing achievement – yesterday, today and tomorrow


Some aspects of Respect are universal. However as we have individual personal preferences, we will place different emphasis on what is important to us. Again the Insights Discovery Colour model can help differentiate some of that difference. It gives us a map of how we can show respect and exercise “due regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others”.

Colourful Respect

Fiery Red…Respect my need to take action/to succeed

Sunshine Yellow ….Respect my need to be connected/to have freedom of action

Earth Green ………Respect my need to fairness/to be listened to

Cool Blue ……Respect my need personal space/to have time to reflect
So make this value mean something real and valuable in your organisation. Make your leadership more effective by respecting others and respecting yourself.

For more information on leadership, team work, and Insights Discovery get in touch.

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