In a workshop that I recently ran, the team I was working with discovered that they had been mispronouncing one of the team-mate's name incorrectly since ... forever.
The team weren't trying to be rude, but clearly this person had not felt safe or comfortable enough to speak up and tell everyone that they had been pronouncing her name incorrectly. She just put up with it, to keep the peace.
Whenever I run a session on ‘What does respect look like in this team?’ we get a wish list of things people would like. It basically creates a list of ‘above the line’ behaviours.
We don't have this conversation until we have created a safe space; you can't just launch into such a personal subject. But when we do, there is an instant relief that team members can raise issues that are really important to them that they haven't felt comfortable raising before.
And everyone in that workshop now knows what respect looks like in that team because they have been part of the conversation. It's incredibly powerful.
And moreover, this conversation prevents the need for those more difficult conversations about "I feel uncomfortable when you..." Because when we know what respect looks like, then we don't engage in disrespectful behaviour because people generally want to do the right thing.
Do you know what respect looks like in your team?