By Brooke Donelson, Analyst

Brooke Donelson headshotR-E-S-P-E-C-T. We have all heard the Otis Redding song that Aretha Franklin covered in 1967, but what does respect really mean in the working world?

At Sendero, respect is a multi-faceted core value that truly captures how our people interact with our clients, our community, and one another. It is defined by actions, such as demonstrating care, listening first, exhibiting stewardship, and demonstrating an outward mindset. I have witnessed acts of respect during my time at Sendero through thoughtful and organic mentorship relationships, roundtable discussions to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion, personal handwritten notes to check in on colleagues, and much more.

While I know many companies may have respect as a core value, Sendero’s approach to living out respect closely aligns with my personal definition – read below to “find out what it means to me.”

At Sendero, respect is a multi-faceted core value which truly captures how our people interact with our clients, our community, and one another.

R – Regard all as equal

Whether you are speaking with the CEO of an international company or the seven-year-old owner and operator of a neighborhood lemonade stand, your attitude and interactions should be guided by similar values of kindness. This type of attitude of demonstrating care permeates Sendero’s culture. Novice interns and seasoned Senior Managers alike are given opportunities to offer opinions, lead initiatives, and creatively shape the quality results that Sendero is known for.

E – Educate yourself as needed

We are lucky to live in a diverse world that celebrates differences in culture, traditions, feelings, and opinions. While you may not always agree with others, it is important to respect their own rights to their beliefs. What’s more, if you can educate yourself on different viewpoints, you may find you have more in common than you originally thought. Open forum discussions, book club roundtables, and guest speakers are great options that Sendero has used to encourage dialogue on various cultural and current events.

S – Seek to understand

When you encounter differing opinions or perspectives, it is helpful to first listen and understand where the opinions stem from, especially before formulating your own response or opinion. Perhaps a Manager has a different viewpoint on how to attack an issue at work that you had never considered. Make sure to listen to their reasoning and examples of similar experiences, as it could influence your final decision for the better.

P – Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is not exclusive to acts of yoga and meditation, but rather the action of being consciously aware of something. By being aware of how you react to different situations and people, you can better understand your own narrative and worldview and how you apply it to those around you. Body language is a great example of something to be mindful of, especially during something like a long meeting or presentation. You can exhibit respectful stewardship to a presenter by sitting upright, maintaining engagement, and offering your undivided attention to the matter at hand, rather than slouching in your seat or mindlessly clicking a pen. While those may not be meant to be disrespectful, it may be perceived by those around you as a lack of interest.

E – Eliminate implicit biases

Prior to entering the professional workplace, I had never heard of the term “implicit biases.” Implicit biases are attitudes or stereotypes which affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. Sendero held a lunch and learn about some common workplace implicit biases to encourage employees to recognize situations in which these may be present. Once you understand what implicit biases you or those around you may unknowingly hold, you can consciously work to combat them.

C – Celebrate your differences

What a bland place the world would be if we were all the same – there would be no progress in the world. Our differences in background, interests, and aspirations are what make the world as colorful as it is and brings forth opportunities for individuals to flourish with their own likes. As a woman in the business industry, I demonstrate an outward mindset by celebrating those different from me who work in education, art, science, and so much more. Our different skillsets allow us to give back to the community in varying and equally important ways.

T – Treat others as you would like to be treated

Most of us were taught this “golden rule” at a very young age. This rule applies to much more than treating people as you would like to expect treatment from others and can be expanded to a wide array of activities. Speak to others as you would like to be spoken to, with awareness and regard for their feelings. Listen to others as you would like people to hear out your own opinions or suggestions. Lend a helping hand to a neighbor, or even a stranger, when there is need – just as you would hope to receive in a similar situation.

One action may start a chain reaction, and a personal commitment to sustain respect for yourself and others will cast a widespread influence for good. While respect is one of those values that may be difficult to define, it is very easy to recognize. Just as Aretha’s song has remained a classic since its debut, the impact of exhibiting respect will also forever be in tune.

One action may start a chain reaction, and a personal commitment to sustain respect for yourself and others will cast a widespread influence for good

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