• Teresa Carey

The ONE THING Your Team Members Most Crave

“It blows my mind that simple etiquette isn’t top of mind anymore.” Truth bomb from a client conversation last week


Within the past two months, two of my children, now 24 and 26, have thanked me for “teaching them manners and respect.” They both recently experienced personal and professional situations with others who didn’t get these lessons along their path. Their words were sweet to my ears and heart.


It turns out this has been a recurring theme for many I’ve encountered these past few months. For several of my clients as well as myself, multiple situations have surfaced that have shown either a lack of acknowledgement, a thank you or an apology. What should be common, has become increasingly uncommon. It’s forced me to reflect on my own shortfalls in this area.


If you think I’m going a bit too granular by reminding us of professional courtesies, hang on. This is much bigger than that. These behaviors actually define the cultural norms within your organization. They either support or deny the values espoused. How we treat others, starting with the basics, will drive our ability to engage and attract talent. It impacts productivity and drives better financial results. (Gallup)


During this season of Thanksgiving, let’s step back and look at the basics. Let’s take a look at how we can be more respectful, more gracious and more focused on how our behaviors impact others.

  • Are you as a leader consistently showing respect through how you respond?

  • How are you modeling this for your team and organization?

  • What would others say about how much respect and personal acknowledgement is demonstrated toward them within your workplace?

According to a recent article in Forbes, respect is defined as the recognition of the inherent worth and value of the other person, and honor that inherent worthiness in our words, actions and behaviors.


Respecting others creates loyalty, engagement, reduced conflict and trust. This was proofed in a 2018 study conducted by Dr. Christine Porath from Georgetown University of more than 20,000 employees globally. Hands down, they said the one thing that would ensure their commitment is the demonstration of respect. Employees who feel respected are more grateful. If we want gratitude, we have to lead by showing it.


How is respect walked out? How do we know it when we see it, or feel it? Here are some of the easiest and most common ways to be on point with helping others feel respected:

  1. Respond to emails or any communication. When people don’t hear back, they don’t know whether it was received, met with disapproval or simply unappreciated. A simple, “Received, thanks.” or “Thank you.” suffices. If you plan to respond but can’t for a bit, a response like, “I want to take some time to process this and will get back with you.,” is all that’s needed.

  2. Speaking of saying thank you, just say it - early and often. One of the most ridiculous comments I’ve heard is, “Why should I thank them for doing their job?” The better question is, “Why wouldn’t you?” If you don’t appreciate what they do to keep the wheels on the bus, someone else will.

  3. Apologize when you’ve made a mistake. Recent material touting, “Don’t ever say you’re sorry,” or “The first to apologize is a sign of the weaker party,” is complete nonsense. Saying you’re sorry when you’ve made a mistake doesn’t make you weak or cause people to think less of you. It actually means you are humble, courageous and empathetic - all the traits the best leaders possess.

  4. Hang out on the other person’s side of the table before or if you ever go to yours. Acknowledge how they feel, what they’re going through and how difficult, sad, confusing, frustrating or whatever their current state may be.

  5. Ask how you can be more supportive. As we approach year end reviews and the time for unraveling and reflection, state specifically what you appreciate most about others. Ask how you might reinforce your appreciation even more.

During this holiday season and in the coming year if you want to give more, then give what matters most - more respect, gratitude and acknowledgement.

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