What’s on your list of CORE VALUES? One that I often see on the lists of individuals and organizations is respect. And I’m always interested to see how that value shows up in people’s behavior and in an organization’s culture and practices.
Respect is one of those words that is subject to many meanings and interpretations. For some it’s about being polite and using what our parents taught us to be good manners. For others, respect means being obedient and following rules. And yet, respect goes far beyond the level of courtesy and compliance. In fact, one of the dictionary definitions points to respect as a deep admiration for others elicited by their abilities or achievements.
If respect is truly to be embedded in our actions and our culture, maybe we need to reach beyond this concept of ‘earned’ esteem and move toward a level of respect that speaks to human dignity and innate respect-worthiness. Rather than having to prove ourselves in order to be respected, we can be appreciated and accepted for who we are with our own unique combination of strengths and talents.
So what might be some signs of respect in an organization? Perhaps people are recognized for their qualities, not just the tasks they accomplish. People truly appreciate each other and rather than complain about each other, they acknowledge each other. Conflict is expressed in a way that doesn’t diminish others. Intrinsic motivation is nurtured and morale runs high.
Respect is a truly foundational value and one well worth cultivating within oneself as well as in relationships, families, organizations, and communities. Respect helps us embrace diversity and see the advantages of differences. Respect helps us build solutions that are beneficial to all. And respect lays the groundwork for many other values to grow and flourish.
What is your definition of respect and how does it show up in your thoughts, decisions and actions?