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How We Give Respect

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Demonstrate respect by Neal Bookspan

JW Way Fundamental #11: Demonstrate Respect
"Treat others with courtesy and dignity. Show respect by listening fully and actively, paying attention to your words and attitude. Give your undivided attention without interruptions."

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me."  Of course, that is a quote from a great Aretha Franklin song, but for our purposes, it importantly reminds us that how we give respect depends on who we are dealing with, whether a client or a coworker. Similar to our fundamental that discusses the importance of walking in our client’s shoes, how you respect an individual is centered on what makes them feel respected, and may not be what makes you feel respected. The point is, that respect is different with different people. You need to know your audience.

There are some universal ideas on how to respect people. These include listening to what a person has to say before responding or expressing your view, treating people with courtesy and being polite, and in the case of coworkers, encourage them to express their opinions and ideas. It goes back to the platinum rule, which is to treat people how they want to be treated.

And if you are dealing with someone who is being rude, yelling or name-calling, it is even more important to remember to demonstrate respect. That may be saying something similar to "I can't continue this conversation at this time, but look forward to continuing it when we can both take a step back and continue a constructive dialogue" or otherwise graciously exiting the conversation. Being sucked into someone's rude and disrespectful behavior has no positive outcome for anyone. So as hard as it is, always try to take the high road, be respectful and you'll come out looking all the better for it.

This includes when dealing with people by email or text.  If you think it is disrespectful, don't send it or put it in the draft folder overnight.

If you do these things, it will help your professional and personal relationships and dealings to be even better than they are now.


About the Author: Neal Bookspan is a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists clients with business issues, commercial litigation, workouts, and bankruptcy litigation. Neal can be reached at 602.248.1000.