Not just a word; It's a real thing!
Respect is at the core of all healthy relationships. But what is it exactly?
It is a word we throw around like we all mean the same thing, all have the same ideas about how it feels, looks, and manifests. Yet respect has cultural, environmental, experiential, developmental, and personal influences for each and every one of us. When I say RESPECT it may or may not be the same thing as when you say RESPECT.
I realized in my work that I had to be clear about what I meant, what I expected, when I said the word "RESPECT."
After all, my business is With Respect, LLC.
That’s why I developed an acronym. It has given me something to manage my own behavior, something to teach and train from, and something I can teach as a tool to be used against racism and sexism in business. I use it everywhere from my living room to my boardroom.
This is my acronym for RESPECT. Feel free to develop your own; from your living room to your boardroom.
R = Remember. This is the art of pulling these ideas out of the back of our brain into the front. We have to dust it off, bring it to the forefront of our mind where it can be seen and used. In everything we do, every day, RESPECT is a consideration, it is the order of the day.
E = Empathy. The importance of putting ourselves in another's shoes. This is about feelings; knowing how others might feel in another situation. That pain you feel when someone else stubs their toe? That’s empathy. That proves you have it. That’s why it’s so important that we use it; we are hard wired for it.
S = Sincerity. The impeccability of the word – of My Word. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It is about thinking before we speak; saying exactly what we intend to do, what we believe to be true, what we might think. Then comes the follow through on action; the behavior has to support the Word. Oh, and by the way, it’s not just what you say on the outside of your head… it’s what goes on inside as well. I wouldn’t call you stupid (that’s not respectful) which means I also don’t call myself stupid.
P = Patience. There are several different kinds of patience. The kind that can wait in line or at a traffic light for hours (so not me!) and the kind that engages with people, mindful that each of us is in a different place, doing the best we can, and waits for them to catch up. It’s about being able to use our empathy and helping people get to where they need to be at their pace. When I’m the boss, I have to provide instruction and guidance in ways that people can hear and then I have to do what I can to move them toward those expectations in supportive ways. I don’t wait for the first time they fall outside the lines and “catch” them. I stay at hand and guide, answering questions, asking questions, mentoring, and teaching.
E = Equity. Not the kind you have in the financing of your house. This is justice; the level playing field, the idea that all people are created equal and deserve equal treatment and access regardless of how they look, sound, smell, or appear. If I need glasses, I get them. It doesn’t mean everyone on my shift gets glasses just because I have them. Those who need them, get them. Those who need something else, get that. It’s about striving to succeed within a group as a group.
C = Compassion. This is the action of empathy; it happens without judgement, listening without agenda, speaking from the heart. It is doing the right thing because it is the right thing. I also call it humanity.
T = Truthfulness. This is honesty provided in a way that can be heard. Your girlfriend, having asked how the outfit she is trying on looks, will probably react better and hear you without being insulted if you say, "Green isn't your color" rather than "OMG! That's hideous!"
Respect isn’t about fear. Fear motivates people to do what’s expected when there’s a chance to get caught. It is an external force that doesn’t serve well for long-term impact. How many of us speed until the cop shows up and then we slow down to the right speed? That's respecting the speed limit out of fear. It's because the speed limit isn’t meaningful to us; we only follow the rule when we might get caught because we fear the consequences, not because we respect the rule.
True respect INSPIRES; comes from within. It is our favorite teacher in school in whose class we tried really hard because we wanted to impress them or not disappoint them. We wanted them to think as highly of us as we did of them. That’s the beginning of respect. Nurtured and guided, that becomes what we here at With Respect, LLC talk about as I-WE-US. But that’s the next blog!
What I offer here is a tool, something you can apply tomorrow to see changes in places and relationships that are meaningful to you, particularly in the workplace.This is pretty typical for me; I like to offer tools you can use immediately.
Try this acronym out – act on it, post it, talk about it – then let me know what it does for you, how things might be different or people might engage differently with you. Feel free to comment below or contact me here.
Oh, and because this tool is a resource for you to use, you can email me here and I would be happy to send you a nice 8 1/2" X 11" electronic visual available for your use. (We are also ordering t-shirts with our logo and the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. acronym on them that will run about $24. If you’re interested, let me know that in the email too.)
This is the first blog in the new series “Blogging With Respect.”
We here at With Respect, LLC have embarked in a new direction that brings together all the fabulousness of the services we have historically offered and takes them to the next level. I’d love it if you looked around and gave us some feedback on what you see.
The website is here.
That’s why I wanted to provide the definition now, at the beginning of our new conversation, because, well, our business is called With Respect, LLC and I use the word A LOT. You need to know what I mean when I say it.
I also encourage you to develop your own acronym, by yourself or in a group that you work with, even within your family. Developing your own can provide you with the ownership that is crucial in being able to live within the guidelines.
The reality about respect is that I don't have to like you to respect you. You and I may not see eye to eye, may have a personality conflict or may just not get along but that in no way gives me permission to be anything less than respectful with you. Doing that with grace and ease takes practice (and some people give us lots of opportunities to practice!) but it can be done. This is one tool that helps us remember that and learn how to do it.
For today, think about your idea of respect. What does it look like? How does it feel? How does it manifest.
Remember, if you haven't done so already, follow me on this blog using the link to the right. Also, if you like what you read, please pass this on to those you know would like to hear it too. And, as always, I look forward to your comments as we grow and learn together!
Leah R. Kyaio