Monday, December 28, 2009

What is Respect?

This is an abused and often misunderstood word. Often people confuse respect with conformity. Allow me to explain - too often than not when people say they respect you what they mean is the like how much to conform to their ideals and ways of doing things - they do not really accept you they in fact only appreciate the efforts you are making to please them so it is a selfish statement depending on how it is used and by whom.

What is respect then - in its simple terms it is acceptance of others and yet before a person can accept others they must be willing to make peace with and accept themselves. Allow me to use some examples:
  • Did you know in many Asian cultures it is customary to use the family name first and the given name second?
  • Did you know historically in European cultures the middle name was not given to you at birth but was bestowed on you based on an attribute you were thought to personify at your baptism?
  • Did you know in Indian culture you tribal name was given to you after your ceremony of passing and accepted into the tribe and that to many native American is an insulting term many prefer instead to be called first people?
  • Did you know that in African culture many people (like Irish clans, first people and so many others) are divided into tribes and that like European have some that are considered Royal or Noble lineage?

Now let me ask some other questions:
Do you show enough respect to learn basic words in the native languages of others if nothing else at least how to properly say the name of then country?

  • Germany - Deutschland
  • Brazil - Brasil
  • Japan - nihon or nippon
  • China - zhōng guó
  • Spain - España

Well you get the idea - so here is the million dollar question - are you truly treating people with or respecting them or rather are you merely telling them conform to my expectations of you because I am selfish, opinionated, narrow and close minded to attempt to understand you?
Additionally if you make no effort to understand and respect them why are you shocked when no one reciprocates and respects you?

I will close with these thoughts:
  • Respect - to hold in esteem or honor, to show regard or consideration for, to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with, to relate or have reference to.
  • Conformity - compliance or acquiescence and action in accord with prevailing social standards, attitudes, practices, etc
Are you accepting them and working to understand who they are and what makes them unique and special or are you instead attempting to make others you you with accept yours as the only true and correct way or thinking, living, acting and existing?

So how does this apply to business?
  • As a business owner are you listening to and accepting what your clients and customers are telling you they need or are you attempting to force them to conform you your expectations and ways of doing things then ending up disappointed when they show you neither respect or loyalty?
  • Does your business exist to provide a service to your clients and customers or do you believe your clients and customers exist to service you?
In short - do you respect them?
  • What do you think?

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites