In my upcoming book, I assert that productive leaders share five attributes: They are consistent, attentive, respectful, motivational, and assertive. The first letters of these attributes form an appropriate acronym: CARMA. In this column I’m going to address the respectful attribute.
Being respectful can be defined as feeling and showing admiration for someone due to their abilities, qualities, contributions or achievements.
Most people begin learning how to be respectful as children. Our parents give us guidance on how to interact with others. They teach us to say “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome,” to hold doors for people coming or going through doors, to make eye contact while greeting others, etc. As we get older, we interact with people other than our parents. We are socialized and influenced by the community of which we are a part.
Respect is the expressed recognition of worth or value. It encompasses respect for yourself as well as respect for others, because if you don’t respect yourself, it is more difficult to respect others. Respect for yourself means having a positive view of how you’re living your life. Having a clear conscience is a good indicator that you have respect for yourself. Basically, do you feel good about yourself as a person? Respect for others means having a positive view of another person based on the way that person manages his or her life.
Below are two sets of questions to help you determine whether you have self-respect and whether you show respect for others. For the two questions sets below, score yourself on a scale of 1 (not doing) to 5 (doing this consistently).
1. Respecting yourself – Feeling good about yourself because of your abilities, qualities, contributions, or achievements.
- Do I accept responsibility for my behaviors and conduct; do I treat others well; do I use good manners?
- Am I an active listener, enabling me to show others I care about their opinions?
- Do I socialize with people who are good influences, who enhance respect for myself and others?
- Am I honest with myself and with others, being tactful but not avoiding being honest?
- Do I respect myself by attending to my health and wellness with proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep?
- Do I attend to my financial health by living within my means and setting myself up for financial security?
- Do I have goals for improving myself, and have I put actionable plans in place for reaching them?
2. Respecting others – Recognizing the value of and having admiration for others because of their abilities, qualities, contributions, or achievements.
- Do I make sure the workplace environment is safe, clean, organized, and outfitted with what is needed?
- Do I listen closely to what other people have to say, listening to understand the other person’s views?
- Am I a good coach, giving people timely and specific feedback, both positive and corrective?
- Do I include input from people affected by new or modified policies, processes, and procedures?
- Do I encourage people to expand their capabilities to increase their expertise or promotion potential?
- Do I encourage and provide opportunities for people to expand their network?
- Do I recognize and celebrate achievements of others in a way that makes them feel good?
Every human being deserves and must be given a basic level of respect. It is simply good manners to respect other people by being courteous and polite. Respect above the basic level must be earned. Some recommendations to enhance respect:
1. Demonstrate openness, understanding and support for individual differences. 2. Always act, and inspire others to act, with integrity. 3. Respect the feelings of others by praising in public, chastising in private. Finally, always be mindful that others notice your actions and inactions.