All paths we take toward others eventually circle back to ourselves. Even if you personally make the commitment to practice respect, not everyone you meet will do the same. When we commit to a path of respect, we do so in spite of others' behaviors because it reflects who we are at our core.
Every day brings a myriad of opportunities to increase our awareness, wisdom and, ultimately, effectiveness. The problem is that most of us walk right past these opportunities because of a little glitch in our mental "software"... the need to be right. In this article, Paul Meshanko discusses how to go through life with an open mind and the intent to take in new information objectively by "learning to be wrong more often."
All parents, in some way or another, leave indelible marks on the world views that their children develop and bring into adulthood. In some cases, these marks are from strong, admirable qualities that we try to emulate ourselves because of the positive outcomes that resulted. In other cases, the marks come from behaviors that we observed causing damage to others or even themselves. In these situations, we make mental notes and likely try our best to do the opposite as we grow up. Most times, it was combination of both. Such was the case with my father.
When we operate in a rich, stimulating and emotionally nourishing environment, our brains are more productive than normal. They release powerful neurotransmitters that stimulate our creativity, desire to work collaboratively and allow us to find deep personal satisfaction in our work. This is the Respect Effect.
While some stress is actually healthy, chronic stress is debilitating. It preoccupies the mind, clouds our judgment, dulls our creativity and makes us physically sick. In this article, we will examine the concept of emotional backpacks and develop strategies for keeping ours light and well-equipped, even in stressful situations.
I was recently contacted by a facilitator at one of our manufacturing clients that is rolling out our Connecting with Respect process across their organization. Her question was interesting. Evidently, there were certain managers (and more senior employees) who were of the opinion that they should not be expected to respect others unless their respect had been “earned.” Could we possibly give her and her co-facilitators some ideas on how to constructively discuss this notion?
If we talk to ourselves in a way that creates a clear and emotionally compelling picture of the behaviors we want to reinforce, it literally creates pathways in our brains to facilitate movement toward those behaviors. When used for this purpose, we call this "self-talk", "affirmative reminders", or "affirmations".
In order to understand the potential respect has for unleashing the best in an organization, we first have to recognize what it does at the individual level. There are all sorts of behaviors, many that vary from culture to culture and even from person to person, that may trigger the emotional feeling of respect in the recipient.
In a workforce that increasingly reflects the demographic differences within the population, getting people from dissimilar age, gender and ethnic backgrounds to work together collaboratively can be a real challenge. Fortunately, the fields of psychology and organizational development can provide insight.
In the following video, Paul Meshanko discusses why respect is so important for the success of an organization. He goes on to discuss the neurology of human interaction and how it applies to the dynamics of a workplace culture.