Guest blog by Idris Fashan
A detailed primer on achieving business success
This is the second installment in a blog series on X5 Management’s principle of LRT: Like, Respect and Trust. As many who have worked with X5 may be familiar with this principle, I decided to do some deeper research and unpack each of the elements of LRT—the psychology, the effect it has on people and the interrelationship between Like, Respect and Trust.
What is Respect?
Respect, by one definition is the practice of showing regard for a person while considering their feelings, needs, desires and/or accomplishments in your behavior or communication. Several dictionaries define respect as the act of maintaining value and a sense of worth in other people by acknowledging their desires, feelings, wants and achievements and by responding truthfully. Respect sounds like a simple principle, but it has several moving parts, as it isn’t something that can be just given, transmitted or even received in a straight transactional way. It is something that must be earned and courted.
Respect in History
There are numerous theories on how respect governed our survival as a species. Even today, zoological studies of primates illustrate the critical role respect weighs in on ensuring a bloodline in complex social structures. In cases where individuals lose the respect of the pride, troop or family, they can easily be left to predators, or may be banished to fend for themselves. If the tribe no longer sees your worth, you no longer have your tribe. Some say this is why respect plays such a central role in individuals growing up.
Respect and the Emotional Economy
Although respect may not be such a life and death decision for many people today, it still has a value that exceeds monetary possibilities. One great example of this is when a person has to make a snap decision regarding another person. The decision they choose is directly influenced by the worth they sense of that person—respectability. If there is a sense of respect, it may go favourably; if not, it likely will not. Because respect is so engrained in our social fabric, we have a sophisticated sense of it. We can feel, sense and identify when and by how much we are respected. It can be powerful, it can be debilitating, but it is always felt. What makes respect so fascinating is that it cannot be easily received before it is expressed. In John C. Maxwell’s The Five Levels of Leadership, respect is the second level, as it is fundamental as a motivator for the people you lead. People respect leaders (and thereby follow leaders) because they want to, not because they are convinced or coerced.
What is Required for Respect?
- Emotional awareness and the ability to express your feelings
- Listenability without prejudice or judgement
- Understanding of the power in validating others’ feelings
- Understanding the value of people’s feelings
- Understanding the value of people, their experiences and their accomplishments
- Maintaining a desire to help others
Five Ways to Show Respect
Respect works much like a boomerang: It demands that we pay it forward, and it is only through a consistent expression of respect for others that people will enjoy the merits of its return. Here are a few simple ways to demonstrate respect to people:
- Ask the person you are talking to how they feel
- Try to gain and communicate a deeper understanding of their feelings
- Listen to them intently
- Consider their views, needs, desires, intentions or feelings when you make decisions that might affect or influence them
Respect Vs. Fear
Eldridge Cleaver once said that, “Respect commands itself and it can neither be given nor withheld when it is due.” In previous generations, respect could be commanded or demanded, because its relationship with fear was close, almost synonymous. Today, the relationship between respect and fear is more distant. As society Psychologists attribute people who strive to be feared may pursue fear as a replacement for respect that was lacking. Though fear is no permanent substitute, for respect, we see prime examples of leaders in the past who fought to be feared. Articles and magazines on leadership suggest that this trend is fading, as leaders emphasize respect over fear. It becomes clear that respect has different meanings on paper than when applied in real life. Everyone has a story about respect, or the lack thereof. Though we know it is imperative for people to respect one another, the differing definitions make this much more difficult. Perhaps Mike Mack summarized respect succinctly when he said, “Respect is what you show when your fans aren’t watching.”