Your Footprint of Respect Impacts Your Social Environment

You’ve heard of an ecological footprint, right? It’s the impact that we have on Earth’s ecosystems. A footprint of respect is the impact that we have on our social environment. Analyzing social footprints helps us create high performing teams.

Our social footprints impact five areas of others’ lives: Schedules, Thoughts, Communications, Systems, and Quality.


The impact we have on others’ time. For instance, what’s the acceptable time to show up for a meeting? Have you heard that ‘5 minutes early is on time, and on time is late’? To compensate, some people may arrive 10 minutes early. To others, arriving under 10 minutes past the start is on time.

To avoid wasting our team’s time, we can let everyone know the grace period. A meeting that starts 10 minutes past has taken 20 minutes out of the early bird’s schedule.


Good ideas can come from anyone at anytime. Creating a place where others feel comfortable sharing their thoughts leads to more ideas and more solutions. Customer feedback can be crucial in a business. Thinking of everyone as your own personal customer means everyone’s thoughts are worth hearing.


Email is notoriously difficult to interpret. The tone in our heads may be completely different from the writer’s. An ‘innocent until proven guilty’ approach can help avoid hostility.


The impact we have on others’ ‘stuff’. We can think further than ‘putting things back when we’re done’. We can also think of potential domino effects we might create. Changing something to one of our own systems may effect a system that we don’t use.


The impact we have on others’ well-being. This includes safety, comfort, and social ties.

Our idea of a quality environment may differ from someone else’s. Situations that we don’t mind putting ourselves into may make others uncomfortable. These situations can be as simple as asking someone to lift something too heavy, whether physical or mental.

Respect is Universal

There are many different perspectives, cultures, and customs. When we respect others, we create an environment where different types of people can work together.

Sometimes our footprints negatively affect others. It’s easier to fix these mistakes in a respectful environment. We all make mistakes, but sometimes the biggest mistake is in how we deal with them!

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