The 10 Essential Elements Of Dignity


In their book, Millennials Who Manage, authors Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart, quote Donna Hicks's explanation about how dignity is different from respect.


  • Dignity is different from respect in that it is not based on how people perform, what they can do for us, or their likability. Dignity is a feeling of inherent value and worth.
Therefore, Espinoza and Schwarzbart recommend that leaders treat those they are leading with dignity and follow Hick's 10 Essential Elements of Dignity:


  1. Acceptance of Identity - Approach people as being neither inferior nor superior to you. Assume that others have integrity.


  2. Inclusion - Make others feel that they belong, whatever the relationship.


  3. Safety - Put people at ease at two levels: physically, so they feel safe from bodily harm, and psychologically, so they feel safe from being humiliated.


  4. Acknowledgment - Give people your full attention by listening, hearing, validating, and responding to their concerns, feelings, and experiences.


  5. Recognition - Validate others for their talents, hard work, thoughtfulness and help. Be generous with praise and show appreciation and gratitude to others for their contributions and ideas.


  6. Fairness - Treat people justly, with equality, and in an evenhanded way.


  7. Benefit of Doubt - Treat people as trustworthy. Start with the premise that others have good motives and are acting with integrity.


  8. Understanding - Believe that what others think matters. Give them a chance to explain and express their points of view. Actively listen in order to understand them.


  9. Independence - Encourage people to act on their own behalf so that they feel in control of their lives and experience a sense of hope and possibility.


  10. Accountability - Take responsibility for your actions. If you have violated the dignity of another person, apologize. Make a commitment to change your hurtful behaviors.

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