Thursday, August 03, 2006

Respect: do you command, or demand?

I was walking through town this morning, when Respect by Aretha Franklin came onto my ipod. It reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a work colleague who was bemoaning the lack of respect that someone on his team has for him.

And he's not alone. One thing that I have noticed in a few people that I know is that they are forever talking about how people should give them respect or how so and so doesn't give them the respect they deserve. However, what are they putting out into the world that COMMANDS respect? Or are they just DEMANDING it?

Respect has to be earned - we've all heard that saying. And it's really true. If someone appears to have a lack of respect for us, instead of moaning to our friends and anyone else unfortunate enough to have to listen (!) or blowing up and demanding respect from the 'guilty' party, why don't we look firstly at whether we are sending them the right message? Being honest with ourselves; do we allow this person to walk over us? Have we set clear boundaries? Do we challenge disrespectful behaviour in them? And perhaps more importantly, what do we actually DO to command their respect? Do we demonstrate high self esteem and a deep connection to our values? Or do we whinge, moan, stone wall or become overly passive or aggressive?

Of course there are many people out there who seem to have precious little respect for those around them and are too wrapped up in themselves to notice their own behaviour and how it affects others - but there are also an awful lot of people running through life demanding respect and doing nothing to really EARN it.

Think of someone you know, or even a fiction character, who commands respect. Who seems to have the ear of everyone, has most people seeing them in a positive light, valuing them and their opinions and wanting to be helpful towards them. The sort of person everyone has time for and is universally acknowledged as a good guy (or gal!)

What are their characteristics? What messages are they sending out about themselves?

Some of the things I have noticed about people who command respect are;

They tackle issues head on and don't resort to two faced behaviour
They don't see the strengths of others as a threat to themselves and are happy to celebrate the successes of others
They are proactive
They prefer win-win rather than win-lose as an approach
They treat other people and their opinions with respect
They don't play power games
They look for the positive without being naive
They have high self esteem and are living their values.

Some of the things I've noticed about people who demand respect are;

They are unable to deal with issues face to face because of a lack of confidence and often submit in person, only to complain later, usually when the other person involved isn't around to defend themselves
They make quick judgments about people and can be very critical
They have low self esteem which they parade with helpless, victim behaviour, or mask with arrogance and ego
They have limiting beliefs about people and the world
They go for win-lose or lose-win
They are easily threatened by the strengths and successes of others.

So, are you a commander or a demander?


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