I grew up going to Sunday School each week and learned The Golden Rule from a very young age, “Treat other people as you want to be treated.” My memory of those classes told me that meant I needed to be polite, kind, and treat others with respect.
Respect means different things to different people, but it ultimately boils down to a feeling. When I looked up the word online, this is what I found:
Respect is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem or regard.
You “feel” someone’s respect, and you feel their disrespect too.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”aa98J” via=”yes” ]You “feel” someone’s respect, and you feel their disrespect too.[/ctt]
I do know that, like my Sunday school lesson, I need to show respect to another before I can expect to feel it back. If I don’t give you respect, you aren’t likely to give it back to me either.
And like my memories of being polite and kind that does mean that I need to give respect even before I know if you deserve it. You can always prove me wrong, and then perhaps I’ll change my behavior based on our interactions. But I must offer my respect first if I want to feel respected.
Respect in the workplace means we need to be considerate. The world has lost a lot of consideration over the past few years. Considerate at work means small things such as cleaning up after yourself in public spaces or lowering your volume when chatting with a colleague or friend. Considerate means doing what you said you would do, whether returning a phone or fulfilling a promise.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Think of others as you walk through public spaces, share an elevator, or fulfill promises that you’ve made. Sadly, people are not nearly as considerate as they used to be.
Respect also means we will take responsibility for our actions without excuses or blame.
The next time you take the last cup of coffee, leave the photocopier empty or jammed, or drop something on the floor, don’t create an excuse as to why you can’t do something about it. We all are rushed with time, and we all have excuses and blame, but that isn’t respectful and not how we should be with one another.
I was walking through the airport today when the man in front of me dropped his mask on the ground. Deliberately. He had no intention of putting in a garbage can as it seemed clear he knew it was “someone’s job” to clean the floors and garbage.
It was gross and disrespectful.
I delivered a customer service workshop for a municipality today, and we were discussing how some customers are unbelievably rude, often saying things like, “I pay your salary” or demanding.
How does that help you get good service? It makes us want to ensure this person doesn’t get what they want just because they’ve been rude.
While in the airport, I regularly hear conversations people are having with others on their cell phones because they use their speakerphone. I don’t want to hear your personal (or business) conversation. Go somewhere less public when you are on the phone. It’s disrespectful to my quiet and concentration.
We could easily go on and on. It is easy to see rude and disrespectful behavior everywhere. That doesn’t give us an excuse to treat other people poorly and with respect in return.
I challenge each of us to have a look in the mirror. Are we unintentionally not respecting others through our thoughts or actions? Are we treating people like we want to be treated, or are we treating people how they are treating us?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”vNn40″ via=”yes” ]I challenge each of us to have a look in the mirror. Are we unintentionally not respecting others through our thoughts and actions?[/ctt]
When we look in the mirror, we often see that sometimes, just sometimes, we are not quite as good as we want to believe. My goal this week is to ensure that not a single person feels disrespected by me this week. It won’t be easy, but I will be very aware.
Thank you for taking the time to examine your demonstrations of respect too. Together, we can make the workplace a better place to go.