Familiarity (and Respect) Breed Respect

In Seth Godin’s blog post (2/13/11), entitled: Familiarity Breeds Respect, Godin describes how his long working relationship with his colleagues has led to great respect for those people.  It made me think that it’s not only familiarity that breeds respect, but respect itself.  The relationship is a two-way street.

Respect breeds respect.  If we approach everyone in our business lives with the expectation of success and mutual respect, it often tips the scales to someone working hard and smart on our behalf, rather than being ordered to do the work.  Just ask ex-president Mubarak how paternal control differs from respectful inclusion.

We hire people either as staff or as vendors and partners to solve a problem we’re having in our business life.  It’s why networking is so important–if we don’t know someone, haven’t vetted their work and don’t like them, why we would entrust them with an important business problem? 

Over the years, I’ve had to fire a number of people for a variety of reasons.  With only one or two exceptions, the individuals that I fired are now friends.  What?!  Yes, I approached the situations with respect toward each of them as individuals and discovered the reasons for their actions or non-performance.  Then we got into a dialog about what their next steps should be.  Respect from both sides led to civilized, honest communication.  I still exchange holiday cards with most of these people and invite some of them to parties. 

Do you have any examples of treating customers, colleagues and vendors with honor–and receiving the same high opinion in return?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T  If you assume that someone deserves respect, they usually rise to the occasion.

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