Respect: A Pillar of Character

As mentioned last week, we will be covering the six pillars of character in these next few posts. Last week we talked about trustworthiness. This week we are covering respect. I think most of us know about respect. Not talking bad about people and using good manners when in others presence. I'm going to take a few minutes and break this down a little more. The areas of respect we should be aware of and practice are: being tolerant of differences, using good manners, being considerate of others, and working out disagreements.

Being tolerant of others differences is one way to show others respect. In the business setting there will possibly be many people from different backgrounds and ethnicity. You don't necessarily need to understand everybody's way of doing things, but you do need to make sure you are not talking negatively about it. It does help to try to understand the way others conduct their lives when they are different from you. Do not be ethnocentric, meaning that you evaluate your own culture as better than others. If somebody has a different way of dressing, talking, or has different habits, learn to accept it and move on to business.

Using good manners is another way to show respect to others. Good manners may vary according to how you were raised, but it is important to learn the culture of your work environment and adapt to their way of behaving. Some of these are simple such as not burping out loud or interrupt others as they are speaking. Others may be different based on culture. One example is the Japanese culture. It is not polite to look someone in the eyes if you have not gained enough status. They are very business minded, so they do not share comedic behavior during business meetings. This is an international case, but their could be other mannerisms in companies here in the United States. Just make sure you understand the do's and don'ts of the organization you are going into.

The third part of respect I want to discuss is being considerate of others. When you are working at an organization, it is important to make sure you are working as a team member and considering others when making decisions. If you are making a decision that affects others, you should make sure you are picking the option that is least detrimental to others. Some other examples are less important, but still impactful. There are basic things like opening doors for others or helping people with heavy items that are considered being considerate. Allow others to go before you or give up your seat in a crowded room. These are all little things that make an impact when being observed in the business world.

The last on this list, but not the least, is being able to work out disagreements. Some people get angry easily when there are disagreements. Being able to work these out in a calm and reasonable manner is important. I truly believe if you are in a room with people who agree with everything you say, then they don't need to be in the room at all. You need to have people who will point out the negative areas of an idea and challenge you. In order for this to work out for the good you need to learn to work through disagreements. In any job disagreements will show up at some time. Learning how to work with others to get through them should be learned early on in your career.