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Mutual Respect is a Growth Industry

"You have to earn respect" - is one of those sayings that gets trotted out regularly, but like smiling, respect is bi-directional.

So do I believe you have to earn respect?  Well, I think we should treat everybody we come into contact with respectfully, as people who get treated with respect, respond in a like manner, most of the time.  

There are a number of people who believe that by being demanding, overbearing and generally unpleasant, they will get better service.   The truth is that they do get served more quickly, and possibly with more deference, than polite, respectful people, but are they really getting better service, or is it just faster?   And where is the fun and the joy of a spontaneous smile from the cashier, the "have a nice day" said with sincerity, and, in restaurants, the confidence that nobody spat in your food?

In the workplace, managers expect to be treated respectfully, because of their position.   Yet, employer / employee relationships have changed significantly over the past twenty or thirty years.  Where a manager would (and could) shout at a subordinate in full view of the entire staff, today the subordinate will launch a grievance if reprimanded publicly.   (Interestingly, loud public disapproval is very acceptable in politics and many boardrooms, so it appears the higher you rise, the more you have to accept the very behaviour that more junior positions no longer will.)

Negative behaviour breeds more negativity, so even if you don't feel a natural respect for everybody in your environment, including your line manager, if you treat them with respect, that will encourage them to see you in a different light.

There are also cultural issues around behaving with respect that might not be understood, and it makes sense to open up conversations around how different cultures deal with situations.  It can save a lot of frustration.

Respect is one of those wonderful human behaviours which gives more than it takes, so the more you offer people respect, the more respect you get in return.   And that's why I call it a growth industry....

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