Okay, 98% of you. The other 2% are completely enlightened, free of others’ opinions and currently sitting under the Bodhi Tree.
The respect we receive from others shapes our sense of identity and self-esteem. And the respect we seek knows no bounds — we look for it from our romantic partners, bosses, associates, colleagues and even doctors who keep us waiting. (Is there a class in med school on that? If so, my doctors graduated from that class summa cum laude.)
While most of us want to be respected, we don’t actually spend much time thinking about respect, and you can’t fully control how it comes to you. As a colleague pointed out recently, when you are running a hotel, 50% of the people don’t know what you do and the other half doesn’t care — that would be kind of funny if it wasn’t sort of sad.
For a leader to earn respect, obviously it means treating people fairly, leading powerfully, demonstrating compassion, not letting people think you put profit in front of people, being bold, listening earnestly, etc. Even when you can get a handle on it, some people may respect you and some will think you are too bold, too conservative, too loud or too quiet. You just can’t control the full monty.
Hmmm … what if? What if you had Aretha Franklin as a coach? (First, ask her to hold the “sock it to me” lyrics on the song.) She might suggest you find just one thing about a person you respect and acknowledge them specifically for what it is. It might go like this:
I’ll bet even your boss would benefit from some respect and acknowledgement. Its power reaches beyond one’s status.
You want to talk about paying it forward? Watch that housekeeper excel in the future because how you speak to her pushes a pride button. The engineer will clearly puff up his chest and deliver better and better results, and the boss, well, you will stand out among the throngs.