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Showing Respect is a Matter of Following the Fundamentals

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.”

There are so many ways to show respect and an equal number to show disrespect.  Where should I start? A good place is with a number of the other JW Way Fundamentals.  Listen fully by giving people your undivided attention. Consider how it feels 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 getting what they are saying. Listening fully is one way to show respect.   Listening fully is often coupled with communicating to be understood. Making sure that the person understands what you are saying is a way of demonstrating that you care about the other person and want to make sure they understand what is happening. This is especially true in an attorney-client relationship.

Honoring your commitments is another great way to convey respect.If you do what you say you are going to do every time you will be respected. If you are going to fall short, an apology and a mutually agreed new time frame may actually help the other person feel even more respected. Empathy is key.  By walking in your client’s or another person’s shoes, when the other person believes you really understand them, it will create positive feelings that you have respect for them.

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 build and either can be destroyed by one stupid or unthinking action or words.

An equally important part of this Fundamental is showing respect to everyone you touch all of the time. Being stressed or busy is never 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 more respected if you sincerely apologize–and you will be acting with integrity and doing the right thing.

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