Five Ways to Live Respect As A Daily Practice

Let's face it, most companies create corporate core values and they get relegated to posters, fancy slogans and initiatives.  The companies that are committed to walking the talk of their core values are those that integrate their values into everything a business does--with both employees and customers.  From the way you hire, onboard, provide feedback and the day-to-day way you conduct business to those "moments of truth" when you take the higher road in challenging situations.

This is the first in a series I will be posting on corporate core values and suggestions on how to live them as a daily practice.  I chose to start with RESPECT as it's so fundamental.  I'm not talking the Aretha Franklin style of respect (as much as I love the song).  And I'm also not talking about niceties and simply being polite because you "should."  Here are 5 ways to authentically live respect daily at work (and in life):

Respect Yourself: Ok so I'll out myself as a Motown junkie.  I love the main premise of The Staples Singers song "Respect Yourself."  In the workplace, even more than the clash of egos, it's the insecure individual who is likely most disrespectful of others.  When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, you are less defensive and more open to different perspectives.

Assume Good Intent: Yes.  There are certain people who really get under our skin.  Take a breath.  Take yourself to a place of your greatest joy (e.g. playing with your kids, playing your favorite music or sport).  From that place, does holding a resentment make you happier or better?  It's your energy.  Choose how you use it wisely.

Listen to Learn and Learn to Listen:  In our fast paced world, most of us have a timer in our head when we listen to others that's saying "get to the point" and "so what, now what?"  Relationships are built on mutual understanding.  Take the time to get to know the people you work with.  Slow down and apply active listening principles.  Break your mental models (myths) about a person and really get to know them.

Get Curious and Seek to Understand: Many disagreements are about a lack of clarity and opposing views.  When you can suspend your own agenda and simply get curious (putting aside your assumptions) to truly understand the other--great things are possible in building respect.

Own Your Part: The job of the ego is to protect us (fight or flight).  When we respect ourselves and others, we know when we've made a mistake.  Own it.  Clean it up as soon as possible so it doesn't fester.  Make an offer of amends and give the other a chance to accept, modify or reject it.  Don't sell yourself short with a simple "sorry" which isn't worth anything.

Remember, the part of the classic Yoda quote "Do.  Or do not.  There is no try" most don't pay attention to is he first says "You must unlearn what you have learned."  Challenge your assumptions about the people you judge.  Seek to truly understand them and the hidden truths that lie within.  I guarantee you there's gold inside.  Report back on what you find!

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