Respecting The Office Staff

A supplement to an article titled “The Key To Professionalism: RESPECT,” published in the May/June edition of OfficePro magazine, written by Heather Larson

Yesterday, I heard disrespect loud and clear in the tone of voice used by my dental hygienist. She asked the receptionist who has a strong Russian accent, “What are you looking for?” The receptionist was trying to gather the items given after a teeth cleaning—toothbrush, toothpaste, floss—and put them in a zippered bag for me, something the hygienist had forgotten to do.

The hygienist’s question and the way she sounded—disrespectful—set my teeth on edge, no pun intended. This scenario could have played out differently if the office staff all respected one another.

6 Ways to Show Respect in the Workplace

  1. Show respect through the manner in which you treat others, especially those who are different from you, said Tenesha Thomas, CAP, administrative assistant to the Director of Building for the City of Madison, Alabama. 
  2. Follow the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, said Lá Shawn Sandifer, CAP, executive office administrator at The Boeing Company. 
  3. Praise more than criticize, said Dexter Allen, MBA, CAP, executive administrator & special assistant to the President/CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving, 
  4. Don’t make assumptions or stereotype those who don’t look like you, worship differently or are much older or younger than you, said Thomas. Instead get to know these coworkers and learn about the cultures represented in your workplace
  5. Be considerate of varying opinions.
  6. Think before you speak.

To learn more about what respect is and how to give it, Thomas offered the following resources:

Microsoft eLesson on Unconcious Bias

How to overcome our biases? A TED talk by Verna Myers

White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo (book)

Blind Spot:  Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony Greenwald (book)


OfficePro Magazine is an award-winning publication from IAAP. Each issue is filled with useful content, special offers, and association information.

About the author: 

Heather Larson writes from her office in Tacoma, Washington, about all kinds of business issues. She can be reached at

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