The other day on a free coaching call an attendee asked about how to handle someone who is disrespectful. I gave her career advice regarding opening up communication and giving the person straight-forward “instructions” on how she wanted to be treated, and somewhere along the line it dawned on me: There are so many people out there who just don’t understand respect.
If you’re like me, this statement probably shocks you. I was raised to be respectful. My parents made a big deal out of it and now, as an adult, I truly recognize the important role it plays in my relationships and in my career. But sadly, not everyone is lucky enough to have parents like mine.
Since “disrespect” is the sixth career-limiting habit on our list, I figured now was a good time to go ahead and address this issue once and for all. Below, I’ll share the four rules I live by when it comes to respect. You can use these rules in both your personal and professional life. I promise, you and everyone with whom you interact will be glad you did.
1. The Golden Rule
Treat others how you want to be treated. They call it the “golden” rule because, if you do this and nothing else, you’ll be golden.
2. The “It’s a Small World” Rule
Now that you’ve got the world’s most annoying song in your head, let me clarify what I mean by “It’s a small world.” No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do for a living, the bubble you in which you exist is much, much smaller than you think. Because of this, you always want to treat everyone—clients, subordinates, and co-workers alike—as if they will one day be your boss… because they very well could be. You never know what might happen in the future. So think of every person you interact with as a potential future employer.
3. The “Hidden Value” Rule
Look for the good in everyone. You may not see it immediately, but I promise, it’s there. Believe everyone provides some kind of value, even if it’s not abundantly clear on the surface. Trust the person standing in front of you has redeeming qualities that, if you knew more about them, would inspire, delight and enchant you. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
4. The “Everyone is Special” Rule
Recognize everyone comes from a different place, and they all bring vast amounts of experience and wisdom with them. Some people are fortunate enough to be well educated. Others are not. Some people were born into money. Others worked their tails off to get it. And yet others work just as hard and will never see a dime for their efforts. The world is not fair. The deck is not evenly stacked. Luck and good fortune are not equally distributed. But everyone has something special. Everyone knows something you don’t know. Everyone is capable of doing and being someone completely different from you—and that is a worthwhile thing to respect. That’s the beauty of life. And if you can’t respect each and every person you come into contact with for that reason alone, you’re not respecting our greatest gift.
Chrissy Scivicque (pronounced “Civic”), founder of Eat Your Career, is an award-winning freelance writer/editor with a passion for two things: food and helping others. Please visit her website and download her FREE mini-workbook called, “How Nourishing is YOUR Career?”