Respect in the Workplace

The Golden Rule


Respect in an organization begins with treating people as you would like to be treated. Listen as Dina Dwyer Owens elaborates on what respect means and shares practical tips for how to grow in respect for the people on your team. Dina was CEO of The Dwyer Group for fifteen years before becoming Co-Chairwoman. Now she spends her time promoting the The Dwyer Group’s company culture and code of values, seeking out acquisition opportunities for complimentary service brands, and speaking on local, national, and international stages on behalf of the company. She is the author of Live R.I.C.H. and Values, Inc..



Dina said that respect starts with the Golden Rule—treating others like you would like to be treated. She listed several ways people can be respectful to each other:
  • talking face-to-face
  • listening well
  • speaking calmly and respectively without profanity or sarcasm 

With so many technological advances, talking face-to-face can be hard to do. What advantages do you see in talking face-to-face, particularly with regards to discussing something crucial or even confrontational? Feel free to share personal stories or examples to illustrate.
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Truly listening is also hard. Who do you know who listens well? What makes them stand out to you?
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Dina defines good listening as “listening with the intent to understand what is being said and acknowledging that what is said is important to the speaker.” What is difficult about this kind of listening? According to this definition would you consider yourself a good listener? Why or why not?
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Listening well includes paying attention to body language and tonality. Dina encourages her team to listen not just with their ears but also with their eyes.   

What have you noticed about the connection between the words people say and the way they look or position their body? Share an example or illustration if you have one.
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One of Dwyer’s defining characteristics of respect in their company is speaking calmly and respectively without profanity or sarcasm. Dina shared a personal story of a time when she responded to a team member’s sarcasm with more sarcasm. She took responsibility for her response and apologized.  

To what extent do you keep yourself in check with your company’s values?
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When you find yourself missing the mark with any given value, what is your typical response?
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Is your company one where team members feel free and empowered to hold each other accountable to your values, the way Dina’s team member did for her?
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Respect is a word often used in the workplace. In many ways, it’s the foundation for healthy relationships and interactions with colleagues. Respect isn’t easy, though—it takes honest, deliberate work and attention that may be uncomfortable at times. As you think about respect and what it means in your workplace, think about it in terms of the Golden Rule. How would you like to be treated? 


This post was taken from the 5-part course, Stick to the Basics. To view the entire course, click here. 

Content for this post and the entire Stick to the Basics course was based on Dina Dwyer Owens' book Values, Inc.: How Incorporating Values Into Business and Life Can Change the World.  Find about more about Values: Inc. or buy a copy here