One of the values of successful and eminent people is respect. They respect themselves and those they interact with.
You too, must respect people regardless of their background or current social standing.
So, what is respect?
First, you need to respect yourself. Anything you would not want to appear about you in the media, avoid it. Be compliant in everything you do. Work hard and create a long term foundation for your success. Avoid cutting corners. And of course, look after yourself well – press your shirts, wear clean socks, brush your teeth and smell good.
Second, respect others. There are people you meet for the first time whether in your office or at the canteen or seminar. Whether you know them or not, greet them and meet them. Don’t be too proud to say hi to strangers. If someone takes the time to visit your office, give them a few minutes. You don’t have to meet only those you know! Those you know and work with, respect them by fulfilling your commitments. If you agree to meet someone at a specified time, be there. If someone gives you a loan, pay it as agreed. Don’t give more stories. At worst, request for an extension, with clear justifications. And if you are employed, go to work in time. Don’t cheat people by surfing the Internet on the company time. That is respect for others.
Third, respect elders and leaders. When you are more educated than your boss, respect them – this means always being on their lookout to ensure that they don’t make mistakes. And if they make it, you take the blame. Otherwise, you would have ensured that they don’t make mistakes. That is respect.
Do you have to respect people who are only senior to you in terms of social standing or financial resources? When you meet someone, how do you identify that s/he is senior to you so that you can accord them the respect they deserve?
Below is what respect is all about:
- seek first to understand and then be understood. This means speak only after listening. Failure to listen is one of the biggest disrespect. You end up doing your own things. First understand, and then be understood – that is effective communication.
- treat others as we would like to be treated. This is an old saying. If you cannot clean the toilets, why expect others to clean them for you? Why not be careful when using them so that it is easier to clean them.
- don’t be the boss. Be the subject. give and seek regular, open and honest feedback so that you are improved and improve others.
- accept all points of view. Don’t do selective listening. Consider, with an open mind, the perspective and opinion of others.
- express genuine appreciation for others’ contributions. If someone does something good. Thank them. If they don’t, tell them why you are not happy. Don’t leave a bad behaviour go unquestioned.
- resolve differences promptly – with compassion and understanding. Remember that, giving feedback is done one-on-one. You state the behaviour NOT the personality. For example, it is disrespectful to tell someone that their face looks like a cartoon. That is how they were born. They cannot change it (not even with plastic surgery.) Tell people how you don’t like the way they eat while talking on phone. That is behaviour. They can change it. And that is what you want them to do. The more you are specific on a particular behaviour, the better.
Copyright Mustapha Mugisa, 2013. All rights reserved.