R-E-S-P-E-C-T “Find out what it means to me” first, then what it means to others

Publication 17, Issue 1

August 16 is special to me – it’s my birthday. But I have a heavy heart because we lost two cultural icons on that day – The King of Rock and Roll and more recently, the Queen of Soul! Aretha impacted my life in many ways and she made it into Oops! I’m The Manager! “The Complexity of Respect” was the hardest chapter to write, though, because respect means different things to different people.

The Queen might thunder, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me!” but in the workplace, it’s about finding out what it means for one and all. In the heat of the moment it’s easy to blurt out the first thought that comes to mind. A verbal shot from the hip can take many forms, marginalizing someone’s feelings, their quality of work or self-worth; or thoughtless words can be just plain insulting. Your own stress level will be reduced if you master a general understanding of what respect means to each of the Playground Personalities. Simple, right?! Read on…


Like it when you focus on them – listening with undivided attention, responding to their needs and making them feel that you as the manager are taking their concerns to heart. Peacemakers know that paying attention to others, always being enthusiastic, smiling, and making people feel important – through verbal and non-verbal cues – are the cornerstones of respect. Spending the time to figure out the person, knowing their likes and dislikes, recharges their batteries and engages them quickly. Tip: Offer to work collaboratively, brainstorm ideas and get people involved along the way!


Feel respected when their innate sense of satisfaction with getting things done is fulfilled. Organizers don’t need personal recognition. Show them respect by recognizing that the task or the accomplishment is complete – no pats on the back required! Simply state you are happy that the work is done and possibly add “great job” for good measure. The old adage “give work to busy people” rings true for Organizers, but they like to be tasked with projects – work that is logical and understandable – not busy work or loose conceptual visions. Tip: Pile on work with specific deadlines and tasks, and acknowledge completion of the job.


Appreciate knowing that they can be counted on to handle “the stuff that no one else wants to handle.” They don’t like to be micro-managed or hovered over to make sure they’re working. To them, respect is taking people at face value – understanding how they’re wired, crediting them for working hard and correcting a situation! Revolutionaries don’t ask people to “ride along” unless they are respected to begin with. Tip: Allow them to work on the impossible and let them take the “twists and turns” to get to an end!


Need to know that those whom they respect are also respected by others – they don’t suffer fools gladly. This is very important when they are building teams and trying to recruit the “best and the brightest.” They want to be known for putting together the perfect “A Team!” “Bling” resonates with the Steamroller: Visible reflections of professional status – degrees, plaques, certifications – are valued evidence of knowledge and experience. These nods to credibility earn their respect. A Steamroller must respect the person who is offering the suggestion or it won’t be well received. Tip: Tread lightly with giving advice and ask for their opinions.

Respect begins with you as the manager. Learning to treat each other with respect by choosing your words to suit the individual styles of your team members helps keep all the personalities in check and eliminates costly problems that might fester for years. If respect is absent in the workplace, it’s going to be a long day for both you and your staff. The complexities of gaining, showing and maintaining respect become apparent when you look at each of the Playground Personalities – but keep it simple!

When managing folks, know how each Playground Personality defines respect and adjust your communication to suit the listener. You know how I like to keep things real and easy to recall: remember, with R-E-S-P-E-C-T, take the time to “Find out what it means to you…and others.”

RIP Aretha!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On the Blog

Latest from Facebook

4 years ago

On the house - an offer of consulting or coaching from Katharine Giacalone, The Corporate...

4 years ago

News from Katharine Giacalone, The Corporate Nanny...March 2020

4 years ago

As a manager do you ask: “Do you want the good news or bad news?” Here’s a newsflash…not everyone wants the ... See more