Promoting a respectful culture

How to promote a respectful culture and working environment.

Bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace can affect the health, confidence, morale and performance of those affected by it.

Managers have a key role in promoting a positive culture where all individuals are respected and valued for their contributions, and where bullying, harassment and discrimination are known to be unacceptable.

The following are some general best practice techniques which can help managers to build a culture of dignity and respect:

  • Consider your own behaviour and lead by example.


  • Promote the Dignity and Respect Policy within your team, and raise awareness of the Dignity & Respect Advisor network which can support staff who have an issue with bullying or harassment.


  • Discourage inappropriate or risqué exchanges and communications.


  • Make it clear that aggressive emails, shouting and dressing people down in public are not acceptable.


  • If you witness, or are made aware of inappropriate behaviour, deal with it swiftly, consistently and in accordance with University procedures. Further support can be obtained from your HR Advisor.


  • Be supportive of individuals who raise concerns about inappropriate behaviour and take account of their feelings and perception of the situation.


Effective staff management

Effective leadership and management is based on respect, trust, support and encouragement. Managers and supervisors are expected to treat staff fairly, to communicate effectively and to use appropriate measures to help colleagues to improve performance where necessary. The key points are to:

  • Remember that managing performance is a legitimate part of a managerial/ supervisory role. There will be occasions when it is necessary to take difficult or unpopular courses of action.


  • Be aware that it is stressful for an employee to be informed that they are not performing well.


  • Agree realistic and achievable deadlines, and allocate workloads fairly.


  • Be a good listener. Make sure colleagues understand and agree what has been discussed.


  • Praise and recognise achievements.


  • Be fair and avoid favouritism or scapegoating. Ensure that credit is given to those that have performed particular tasks and contribute to the outcomes.


  • Keep communication channels open – check that staff feel able to communicate with management.


  • Establish an inclusive work environment for all members of the team.


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