What Does Respect Look Like?

There is a nice post on the FC Experts blog about respect. It’s nothing earth-shattering, and I imagine most would agree:

Respect is important; it is a bond that works both ways. Respect the individual and she will respect your company. Respect directly affects retention. According to data conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, “63 of those who do not feel treated with respect intend to leave within two years, vs. only 19% who feel they are shown respect.” And so it is useful to remind ourselves of ways we can show respect to folks on our team.

Okay, but I still have the question that is the title of this post: what does respect look like? When I facilitate groups I often have them give me "ground rules" that I can use while facilitating. Frequently they say "treat each other with respect," but I push back: how will I know that groundrule is violated? People define respectful behavior very differently. If they all agree that interrupting someone is disrespectful, fine, but the easier groundrule is "no interruptions."

Respect is a tricky word. It is very powerful, but sometimes it can be a deflection–a moral high ground to hide behind, or an avoidance of actually confronting the real issue.