There are so many ways to show respect (and an equal number to show disrespect)….where to start? I think a good place is with a number of the JW Way Fundamentals we’ve implemented here at the firm.
#5 Listen Fully – giving people your undivided attention (how does it feel when you can tell the person you are talking to is typing, reading email or thinking of something else!!) Make eye contact. Nod or give other indications you are really “getting it”. Listening Fully is a way to show respect.
#4 Walk in your Client’s (or other person’s) Shoes – if the person you are talking to believes you REALLY understand them this will go a long way to their feeling you have respect for them.
#7 Honor Commitments – if you do what you say you are going to do every time, it will also go a long way to conveying respect. If you are going to fall short, an apology and a mutually agreed new timeframe may actually help the person feel even more respected.
#10 Communicate to be Understood – making sure the person understands what you are saying is a way of showing I care about you, and I want to make sure you understand what’s happening. This is especially true in an attorney/client relationship.
Showing respect has many similarities to building integrity. The foundations for both are built on a mosaic of numerous words and actions that in total convey a much more significant message. It is extremely important to remember that both can take a long time to convey and either can be destroyed by one stupid or unthinking action or words.
The second really important part of this Fundamental is that you should show respect to EVERYONE you touch ALL the time. Being stressed or busy is not an acceptable excuse to be disrespectful. Showing respect is free and relatively easy. This week make a conscious effort to demonstrate respect to everyone you touch. And if you fall short for any reason, the person may feel even more respected if you sincerely apologize–and you will be doing the right thing!