Let’s Talk About Respect

First For Yourself, Then For Others

The Bushidō code is a combination of 8 different core virtues that directed the samurai on how to live. I have researched these virtues and have adopted and blended them into the context of the time we are now living. I have also discovered that focusing on these 8 virtues is a pathway to finding Work:Life Harmony for ourselves and living a life with more overall satisfaction.

I will be writing 8 different articles, one for each virtue: Justice, Courage, Compassion, Respect, Integrity, Honor, Loyalty, & Self-Control. This is Article #4, Respect.

The more I’m able to show compassion to others, the easier it becomes to understand their point of view. So, being able to show Respect for the position they’re in becomes easier at this point. It’s in times when I’m not able to show compassion that I find it challenging to be able to show Respect. Usually, this is because I’ve gotten stuck in my own head, and I’m thinking too much about what everything means to me, and not considering what it means to others.

What do you think of when you hear respect?

“All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.”

– W. Edwards Deming

This quote is important to understand because this is the core meaning of work: To be able to do a job with pride. Pride matters to everyone. It matters to their self-esteem, families, and how they present themselves in the world. Showing Respect for others provides an opportunity to be able to work with pride.

I’ve worked with a lot of different leaders throughout my career. There has only been a small percentage of them who have approached the topic of Respect with a healthy attitude.

Allowing people to have a voice and contribute to the conversation feeds into their ability to do their work with pride. When we deny them the opportunity to share, we are indirectly making it that much more difficult for them to work with pride.

We all want it, but are we willing to give it?

We are usually quite alert when it comes to feeling disrespected in the workplace. It is easy for us to get defensive and lead from the title that we have to put people in their place. I’ve done it, and I am not proud of those moments.

But as I am learning more about what it takes to be a true leader, those moments are a thing of the past.

I’ve discovered a truth when it comes to work and the life I am leading: Respect starts with me. If I am not showing myself respect in the hours I work, the lifestyle I am leading, and the way that I treat my body, how can I expect anyone else to do that for me?

Also, when you don’t have a good perspective on what it means to show yourself respect, I have found it to be much harder to show respect to others and the journey they are on.

So, how can we get better at this?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

2 ways to Improve Respect

  • Self-Respect

If I have a hard time showing myself Respect, it becomes a barrier for me to think others would want to show Respect to me. It starts with the self, an intrinsic motivation around honoring the journey I’m on.

Understand your why, learn about the direction you want to go, and get crystal clear on what your core values and strengths are. Don’t make assumptions here, take the time and work through this with intention.

Write things down and have it in front of you. This will serve as a litmus test for you to measure the actions you are taking. You can ask yourself, “Am I taking actions every day that are bringing me closer to the vision I have for myself?”

  • Respecting Others

As Brené Brown has said, “It is more about getting it right, than being right.”

When we are too focused on pushing our position and being right, we are losing the opportunity to let others in. It can be a sign of disrespect when you aren’t even willing to listen to the other persons point of view and what they have to say.

Make space for others in conversations, on your teams, and just in your life in general. Be willing to disagree with someone and have a healthy conversation about each others viewpoints, you might just learn something new.

The path to Work:Life Harmony requires us to have a healthy view of what respect is and be able to show it regularly to those around us and to ourselves.

If you’d like to learn more about Respect or the other 7 virtues of the Bushidō code check out my book Always Improving: Lessons from the samurai.

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