Number 14 in a series
Why do people so often talk about the importance of being respectful but don’t walk their talk?
The previous two posts explored trust and respect, two of the most essential qualities for the well-being and effectiveness of individuals, relationships, and businesses. For trust to grow, respect must be given more than lip service. This requires never justifying disrespectful behavior.
Justifying disrespectful behavior leaves us stuck in the knee-jerk responses that follow the legacy of traditional thinking such as “An eye for an eye,” or “This is for your own good.” Whenever we justify disrespectful behavior we’re not open to learning. We just react and bathe in the self-righteousness of believing that the other person deserved what was coming to them.
Putting a big red line through a circle labeled Disrespectful Behavior forces thinking outside the box. We have to pause and consider not only what it means to consider other people, but also how to be more respectful to ourselves. The paradigm shift that makes this happen is to make respectful behavior as important as accomplishing tasks and goals (R=T&G).
Making respectful behavior as important as tasks and goals is a revolutionary idea. In building a successful business, teaching a lesson, getting a job done, or winning a game, the means used to accomplish these tasks and goals often lapse into disrespectful behavior such as unilaterally making decisions that adversely affect people or dumping pollutants into rivers and the atmosphere.
For example, before we ever had children, my wife and I had many in-depth discussions about how we wanted to raise them. One such agreement was to never hit our children, and we never did. But, when we got frustrated and wanted our way, we often coldly raised our voices.
One day, when our son was about two years old, I got upset with something he had done. When I finished my rant, he looked up at me and with a tear rolling down his cheek said, “Daddy, when you yell at me, I think I’m gonna die.”
He gave us a message that sent us back to the drawing board. We now had to consider that maybe yelling was as harmful as hitting. We had to find ways to deal with our frustrations that were not authoritarian and disrespectful to him. Of course, living this philosophy also means finding the behavior that is not permissive and disrespectful to ourselves. That’s quite challenging.
Likewise, the impact of disrespecting our planet can be seen in the palpable and measurable effect of climate change. The impact on relationships is the subtle drip, drip, drip of eroding trust. Recognizing the enormous price that is paid when people or the environment are disrespected opens the possibility of adopting a new way of thinking for organizations and families.
Making respectful behavior as important as accomplishing tasks and goals moves away from conventional “either/or” thinking to the evolutionary thinking of “both/and.” A dedicated commitment to that consciousness, values the wisdom of mutual respect and opens the transformational possibilities of accomplishing multiple goals without sacrificing the integrity of anyone or anything. It is the road less traveled.
For Your Journey
- When a business does not treat its employees, customers or the environment respectfully what are the long-term consequences?
- When you so not treat those people in your significant relationships respectfully what are the long-term consequences?
- When you do not treat yourself respectfully what are the long-term emotional and physical consequences?
- Consider the possibilities in every area of your life of making respectful behavior as important as tasks and goals (R=T&G). For a deeper understanding of the respectful and disrespectful behavior that flows from differences and leads to either greater trust of eroding trust click on the chart Trust or Distrust. Although the chart was created for businesses it is relevant for understanding all relationship difficulties.
- Share-it-forward. Make a copy of the Trust or Distrust chart and discuss it with another person.
- Share-it-forward. Share with another person the idea of making respectful behavior as important as accomplishing tasks and goals.
First in the Series: From Head to Heart
BECOMING YOUR OWN HERO illuminates a path available to us all to attain the kind of personal power demonstrated by our most revered and inspirational heroes. Marianne Williamson, #1 New York Times best-selling author said, “I highly recommend this illuminating and touching look into the possibilities of staying connected to our hearts, even when facing difficult situations.”