Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? Confucius
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Just recently, one of my coaching clients brought up that for relationships to be successful, both parties should respect each other. I asked him what he thought “respect” meant. I listened to his definition, and then I shed some light on the definition.
Respect is defined as “the due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights and traditions of others.”
A few months back I facilitated a workshop wherein the subject was values. We peeled away at the layers of what respect means.
I never noticed it before, but my new understanding of the definition changed my entire view of how I can respect anyone. It is the “of others” part of the definition that turns the traditional “practice” of showing respect on its head.
Many of us treat others as “we” would want to be treated. Does the Golden Rule sound familiar? I used to teach that in all of my service excellence classes.
The key is to treat others as “they” want to be treated. This means that we know a little about their filter, about the things that keep them up at night, about who they are as people.
This means that the needs of others come first in a respectful interaction.
I know. This takes time. We don’t always have time to get to know everyone with whom we come in contact.
Want to know some ways to show someone respect in simple, yet profound ways?
- Slow down, pay attention and listen
- Listen with the intent to understand
- Minimize distractions when listening
- Repeat back what you hear
- Ask questions to clarify your understanding of what they want
- If you see that they are flustered, take a little time to uncover the “why”
- Eye contact and open body language are key, but in some cultures this can be tricky
These are some very intuitive ways to help others feel that you respect them.
Signs of disrespect
Since we considered some simple ways to show respect, below are some things that we may do that are often seen as disrespectful:
- Looking away when others are talking to us (depending on the culture)
- Rushing someone through a conversation
- Walking by without a greeting
- Talking down to someone
- Huffing and puffing when someone is saying something you disagree with
- Looking down at your cell phone when talking to someone
- Finishing someone’s sentences
- Making decisions about a person or people without considering any of their voices
Can you think of any others? II know that there are many more.
In our world of instant gratification, when organizations want results now, people who take the time to show respect are those who will inevitably build stronger relationships.
Strong relationships are the foundation of strong organizations, strong families and strong societies.
Cheers to respecting first and then being respected!
If you enjoyed this article, please do Share it with those who might benefit. Many of its tenets are in my book, The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty
As I stated in the opening paragraph, employees are more loyal when they feel valued, listened to, respected and important. It is up to organizational leaders to create that type of employee experience.
Whether you decide to get a personal copy of my book or not, I hope that this new way of thinking about respect will drive you to act differently.
Please add your voice to the conversation by adding to these lists in the comments.
Thank you for reading.