Monday 15 July 2013

What does respect look like to you?

Yesterday I blogged about our relationship to time. As a result of tweeting about the blog I asked did someone being late show a lack of respect. It was a trick question really because as I explained in the blog - those with a preference for 'in-time' won't believe so and those with 'thru-time' preferences will.

And they're both right - from their worldview anyway. I suggest it's up to both parties to understand the other's worldview. Those in-time should understand that their colleagues with thru-time preferences may judge their lateness to be disrespectful and need to appreciate the repercussions if someone holds that belief about them. Those thru-time should understand that those in-time would believe that their undivided attention in meetings is more respectful than promptness at the start.

Which had me thinking about our values - of which respect might be one.

Our values are what inspires and motivates our daily actions. They're what determine what we will do and what we won't do. They also determine what we do and don't admire in others and therefore how we judge them - and ourselves for that matter.

Even at its simplest level what values are in our top five can and will lead to disputes between individuals about what to do and what doing it means. As another blog suggested when I chunked our values into achievement, affiliation & power. Someone valuing achievement and success may very well want to manage a project differently than someone valuing affiliation.

Every action is motivated by a need to achieve a value - yes even actions that a majority of us would deem to be unacceptable. Which brings me to the added complexity that our values are nominalisations and we each have our own definitions for what achieving them means.

If I take respect for a moment then it might mean any, or none, or all, of the following to someone: 
  • Being on time for meetings
  • Giving our undivided attention in meetings
  • Listening to what others are saying
  • Acknowledging you have heard what others have said
  • Saying thank you
  • Doing what you say you're going to do
  • Being honest
  • Doing what they want you to do
  • Respect for yourself
  • Respect for others
  • Fairness (which I'd suggest is in fact another value)
  • Respect for the planet (as image suggests) 
The key is understanding that your definition of respect is just that - yours and that others are likely to have a different understanding of what respect is or may not even value respect as highly as you.

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out

Blog 12/31 in the ultimate blog challenge for July.

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