This is the first in a series of three blogs dealing with key components for the success of any business or non-profit, us as individuals or business leaders, and our communities.
Respect is something that you have to earn, make no mistake this is a fact of life, and another fact is that it is far easier to lose the respect of the people around you than it is to earn it.
As stated above, respect has to be earned, it is not something that anybody deserves because of their position or title. Is there a magical or foolproof formula to earn respect? Sadly, not. There are far too many variables linked directly to us, the people surrounding us, and our communities, even within our own communities we can find enough variables that what works for my neighbor does not necessarily work for me.
Respect is not earned by instituting a set of authoritative rules that all must follow, this will generate fear if the party instituting the rules has the power and authority to enforce them regardless of how fair or unfair the rules are. Not only does this method not inspire respect, it also does not generate trust, which is one of the main requirements for respect. Think about it for a second, if I don’t trust you, how could I possibly respect you?
The first thing that we have to earn from our community and our employees is trust. To earn trust we have to be trustworthy, that is, we are transparent, we are not afraid to say, “I don’t know, let me find out” and then follow through. Never blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind, it can sound, and be, flippant. Think about what you are about to say and how best to say it. The old saying of, “Make sure your brain is engaged before you open your mouth”, is based on true facts and experience. Trust is also a two-way street; we have to trust our employees and our community before they can start trusting us. We show our employees that we trust them when we listen attentively to their ideas, and we demonstrate that we can trust their judgement just as much as we can trust our judgement. This is not an easy task to accomplish, and there are times when their ideas fail, just like we fail sometimes, and instead of criticizing them we work with them to correct whatever it is that went wrong and never hold it against them, if you do, they lose trust in themselves, the company or community, and us.
Once we have their trust we must then move on to maintain and increase that trust so that it in turn generates the respect that we want to earn.