by Becky Morris
My friend E Ann and I were having lunch one day and she was telling me about her daughter’s new boyfriend. It drove her absolutely crazy that every time he came to the house he never said hello, when leaving he never said good-bye, and if they took him to dinner or anywhere, he never said thank you. She asked me if I would consider doing a workshop on this topic. Of course we had a good laugh about this, but she had a valid point. There is an element of respect that seems to be missing in today’s society.
In her book How to ZING Your Life and Leadership Nancy Hunter Denney has a chapter on the “Rules of Respect”. She lists 7 ways to demonstrate respect. They are:
Appearance – This is a touchy subject. The more casual you dress, the harder it is for others to determine your role and the greater assumption (by others) that you might not take your role seriously. Clothes do not make the man or woman. However, if you combine respectful behaviors with appropriate appearance, you will reap the benefits.
- How will you know when you appear appropriate for the situation?
Method of Communication – If you seriously want to improve your capacity to demonstrate respect, you must speak to others with respect. Not only does your word selection have an impact, but the noise level of your conversation also matters. Respect others by avoiding the temptation to intimidate, oppress, frighten, degrade or control.
- How will you know your tone and demeanor demonstrate respect for those with whom you are speaking?
Word Selection and Gestures – Word selection and the content of your statements can also quickly show someone that either you respect them or you have no regard for their values, morals and diversity.
- How will you know you are making respectful word choices?
Punctuality – Perpetual lateness is a significant (and preventable) individual detractor that subjects itself to a variety of interpretations and/or assumptions about you such as: disorganized, rude, careless, inconsiderate or having other priorities. Time is a valuable commodity and should be handled with care – not only your time, but the time of others.
- How will you use your limited time each day to demonstrate your respect for others and their priorities?
Involvement – Another way of showing respect is by your level of involvement in your workplace or community. Respect can also be demonstrated by inviting others’ opinion and participation. Supervisors or managers who micromanage show very little trust (and thus respect) for their employees’ abilities.
- How will you invite others into dialogue with you, encouraging their talent through participation, and engaging them in community?
Expectations – Letting others know your expectations of/for them tells them how you perceive them. Just as high expectations demonstrate high esteem, low expectations demonstrate low esteem. When you under-value, underpay and under-appreciate your workers, you simply disrespect them.
- How will you come to believe in people to be their best and expect no less from them, rather than measure them by their weakest moment (while your own esteem rests on your best moments)?
Politeness – This is one of the best ways to demonstrate your respect for others. It may require little more than a spoken “please”, “thank-you”, “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am”.
- How DOES your general manner with people reflect the respect you have for them? How must you shift your attitude about people to improve your manners toward them?