Social Work Values & Easy Ways to Show Respect

Social work values form an integral part of professional identity of social workers.

Social work values include respect, dignity and worth of individuals, pursuit of social justice, integrity and competence.

The soul icon Aretha Franklin who sadly passed away in August 2018 at the age of 76, gave us the signature song “RESPECT” which became a hit in 1976.

Whenever I think of the word ‘RESPECT’, these lyrics come to mind……..

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me

R-E-S-P-E-C-T take care, TCB, oh…

(Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)

A little respect

(sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)

This song reminds us of the importance of respect in any form of relationship.

This article covers – 

  • What are Social Work Values?
  • What is Respect?
  • Relationship Between Social Work Theories and Respect
  • What Is Respect All About?
  • Why Is It Important to Show Respect to Others?
  • How Do Others Feel When You Show Respect?
  • How Can You Respect Yourself and Others?
  • How to Improve Self-respect
  • How to Show Respect in 7 Simple Ways
  • Conclusion
  • 7 Easy Ways to Show Respect
  • Social Work Got You Losing Your Mind?

What are Social Work Values?

Social work values are the beliefs and principles of social workers, which guide their practice and help them to determine the right course of action when making decisions.

The Professional Association of Social Work and Social Workers (BASW) code of ethics also comprises statements of values and ethical principles relating to human rights, social justice and professional integrity which social workers should respect and uphold. 

Social work values also help ensure that services are provided with respect, understanding, care and compassion.

They emphasise the importance of service users or clients having choice and control over their lives.

Social work values are rooted in a commitment to social justice, human rights, collective responsibility, and respect for diversity.

All social workers must strive to uphold these values in order to remain true to the profession.

7 Easy Ways to Show Respect

In social work, we form relationships with the people we support. To build any successful and working relationship, we need to realise the importance of showing respect.

So, let us explore a bit more.

What Does Respect Mean in Social Work?

Respect is the way we treat or think about someone or something. It involves accepting someone for who they are, and having a deep admiration for someone regardless of their beliefs or if you agree or disagree with them.


Relationship Between Social Work Theories and Respect

Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was an American psychologist and a founder of the humanistic, or person-centred, approach.

He introduced the idea of collaborators in a working relationship where the client’s values are respected.

According to Carl Rogers, for a successful relationship to be formed, there should be unconditional positive regard.

This means that the clients do not need to prove that they deserve your respect but have inherent worth.

When this happens, the relationship will be more productive as the person you are working with will feel accepted for who they are.

Likewise, respect from others enables us to express ourselves and feel safe but, how do we show respect for others?

Can we recognise respect when it is present or absent from a working relationship?


What Is Respect All About?

Respect is a positive and desired behaviour towards somebody or something that is considered significant.

When you pay attention to someone`s worries, needs, and feelings, you’re in the process of showing respect.

Why Is It Important to Show Respect in Social Work?

Being respected makes us feel safe and it teaches us how to respect others.
If we are being respected, then we can truly be ourselves.

That’s because it implies that you accept someone despite all of their shortcomings and views.

A lack of respect is the reason why some relationships don’t work.

So, it is advisable to respect each other; only by following this advice will you feel a sense of confidence, safety and happiness.

How Do Others Feel When You Show Respect?

It’s an amazing feeling! Being respected is pleasant, no matter who shows you respect, whether a friend or a stranger.

When you respect people, you validate them, they are encouraged and it helps improve relationships.

How Can You Respect Yourself and Others?

Don’t mistake self-respect with self-esteem.

A feeling of being loved comes from respecting ourselves.

As soon as you learn to respect yourself and your own needs, you will be able to show respect to others.

You can respect yourself by hanging around positive people and being friendly.

Self-respect is the foundation of all healthy and strong relationships.

When you accept yourself with all your strengths and flaws, it will change how others perceive you.

Know who you are and how much you’re worth.

That way, you will not allow anyone to treat you any less.

Here are a 4 tips that will help you improve your self-respect.

Is respect a skill in social work ?

Yes, respect is an important skill in social work.

Respect is a core value in the profession and involves treating people equally regardless of their background or identity.

Social workers must demonstrate respect for service users by listening to them, being non-judgmental and understanding their needs.

Respect also means taking into account power imbalances between social workers and service users, and ensuring that all opinions are heard.

Respect is also key to developing positive partnerships with other professionals, which can help provide the best outcomes for service users.

How to Improve Self-respect

#1 Find Out What Respect Is

First of all, take a deep look into your inner world and figure out what gives you a feeling of being the best version of yourself.

Then put yourself first when prioritising things in your daily schedule.

For instance, you can meditate first thing in the morning before turning on your computer to start work.

#2 – Accept Reality

Accept things and individuals the way they are.

Everyone has a good side and a bad side; we need to accept not only the positive side of people but also the negative side of our loved ones, ourselves and the situations we find ourselves in.

Failing to do so will make the situation worse.

#3 – Listen and Pay Attention

Listening is a skill you need to master as a social worker.

If you respect a person, you tune in to what their concerns are. You follow their views and the points they raise in a conversation. 

Do not focus on your mobile phone or the person standing/sitting next to you. Look at the person in the eye, paraphrase and summarise at the end of a conversation to indicate active listening. 

Everyone appreciates a person who shows genuine interest and listens to them.

#4 – Be Helpful

Offering some advice or support will mean a lot to a friend, a person you support or a colleague at work. 

How to Show Respect in 7 Simple Ways

How to show respect

Here are 7 simple strategies to show your respect for others, by doing so, you can improve your relationship with others.

Respect Yourself First!

When you behave with honour and dignity, you are showing self-respect. You can achieve this by respecting your beliefs and values.

Respecting your interests – value the things you are interested in doing. Do not hide your hobbies or passion and make time for them.

Respect your word – Words are free. It’s how you use them that may cost you. So, stay honest and openly communicate about how you feel. 

Respect your boundaries – Learn to say no to people by knowing what your limits are. You will be taken advantage of if people realise you are easily manipulated.

Respect your fears – Face your fears head on and do not run away from them. According to the icon Judy Blume, “each of us must confront our own fears, and must come face to face with them.

How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience you pause and face head on.

You can say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can make it through the next thing that comes along”.

Engage With Individuals and Get to Know Them

We are individuals with unique characteristics.

When you engage, you learn that people are different, and this helps you learn to respect these differences.

Serve Others

Serve others

Serving others to make their lives better will help improve your life too.

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something for others.

Don’t wait for good things to happen to you before you help others.

If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, and you will fill yourself with hope.


I consider politeness the starting point of showing respect and it can change our lives.

Politeness is something you owe other people, because when you show a little courtesy, everything becomes easier and better.

I would like to share my favourite quote about politeness by Arthur Schopenhauer 

“It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies, by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter–an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.”


Encouragement is also a fantastic strategy to show respect.

If you have a busy and challenging day, a little encouragement may change everything.

When someone tells us: don’t worry, everything will be ok, we get some energy boost.

A smile and a word of encouragement can change our grim mood on a bad day and impact on the lives of others too. According to Michael P. Watson, 

Strong people don’t put others down… They lift them up.”


Congratulating someone is important. If you are a leader or a manager, it is essential to let your employees know that they’re doing an outstanding job.

It can help improve relationships among staff. In social work, congratulating a person you are working with on an achievement is a way of respecting and supporting them.


Be thankful

Thankfulness is a way of showing gratitude.

When someone shows you gratitude, helps you or just acknowledges your achievements, always thank them.

Always be thankful because it is a remarkable way to show respect to people around you.


With the daily pressures on all of us, most of the time, we forget to thank and compliment people we meet.

So, don’t hold back, show your gratitude and appreciation.

Doing so will not only make others feel better, but will also make you feel uplifted as well!

And for one last time……..

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me

R-E-S-P-E-C-T take care, TCB, oh……

(Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)

A little respect

(sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)

I hope this article has been helpful. Please let me know if you have any other ideas to show respect in the comments section below.

7 Easy Ways to Show Respect

  • Respect yourself first
  • Engage with individuals and get to know them
  • Serve others
  • Politeness
  • Encourage
  • Congratulate
  • Thankfulness



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7 Easy Ways to Show Respect Useful Resources

  • Social Work To-Do List

Social Work To – Do List: What To Include: We sometimes struggle with managing our daily tasks as social workers. This is not because we do not have the skills. The work load, crisis and challenges we face can be overwhelming. That is why a social work to-do list may help us manage better.

  • Recommended Books

Best Social Work Books Every Student Must Read is a great article full of highly recommended and engaging books. Helping student social workers to equip themselves with knowledge and skills. It is a great way to empower yourself and encourage you to read more.

  • Social Work Registration

Social Work Registration: Get it done – is a useful article that walks you through the social work registration process.

  • Social Work Burnout

51 Effective Ways to Fight Social Work Burnout helps practitioners explore 51 effective ways to fight Social Work Burnout. Social work burnout can affect the way we execute our role. It can cause social work stress, and a stressed social worker cannot perform their role effectively.

  • Active Listening in Social Work

Why You Should Actively Listen as a Social Worker raises awareness of active listening in social work. Social work active listening involves the listener paying close attention to the speaker, making sure not to interrupt, and reflecting on what they have heard. This helps the speaker feel heard and validated, and it can also help them clarify their thoughts and feelings.

  • Social Work Humour

Social Work Humour for the End of a Long Day This article explains when social work humour is important. Essential social work skills include empathy, authenticity, resilience and respect. These skills help us cope with situations and meet the needs of service users or clients. However, the best coping mechanism in social work is definitely humour.

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5 thoughts on “Social Work Values & Easy Ways to Show Respect”

  1. What a clever way to point all the different elements out, using the letters of the word to emphasize the element. It has a name, nut I forgot what it is 🙂
    I love it that your articles are not just for social workers but are applicable to ordinary life as well. Thanks!

  2. Really liked the way you wrote about R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and brought this under our attention!

    Also, nice you mentioned Carl Rogers here and the way he emphasize unconditional positive regard, as well as empathy and authenticity as key values in therapeutic basic attitude 😉
    Keep up the good work!


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