Respect: An Influencing Factor of Trust or Lack of Trust
Growing up as children, we all were regularly invited to understand and live by the “The Golden Rule.” It is the principle of treating others as oneself would wish to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures.
The Golden Rule can be considered an ethic of reciprocity. It may appear as either a positive or negative injunction governing conduct:
- One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself (positive or directive form).
- One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form).
- What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form).
In business and leadership, modeling what we want is the best empowerment, motivation, and inspiration to others. When we make choices that are self-serving or self-indulging, we may lose sight of how we may be out of integrity with The Golden Rule. In the moment of immediate gratification, we may also be choosing to be disrespectful, and not even know it.
“Respect” is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Equally important, respect is due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others. When we show respect to someone else, we reinforce the interpersonal relationship which adds to a greater reciprocal level of “trust.”
So, let’s see how disrespect shows up using a couple of simple situations which we have all probably seen.
Situation #1 – You’re invited to a party that starts at 8:00 p.m. and are asked to bring a dish for the potluck dinner. You like to be the “first person” to attend events you are invited to. And, you have a personality that does not like being late. So, you show up at 7:15 p.m., 45 minutes earlier than the party start time. You are met at the door by the hostess still in her robe, clearly getting ready for the party. In addition, the caterer is frantically setting up for the party and does not want the distraction of a guest roaming around the house. DISRESPECTFULL! How would you like to be the hostess interrupted by the ringing of the bell at the door as you are showering, dressing, and putting your make-up on? How would you like to be the caterer that is disrupted and distracted by a guest that is getting in the way?
Situation #2 – You are attending a meeting where a great speaker has worked very hard to offer an unbelievable 2-hour presentation to be shared with the attendee guests. You are asked to turn off your smart phone and stay focused on the presentation. You want to keep watch of the emails coming up on your phone because you have an addictive personality that simply cannot let go. During the presentation, you are being distracted by text messages and emails and are immediately responding when you see them come up on your screen. Also, during the presentation your telephone rings… you stand up and answer the call as you leave the room. After your call, you re-enter the room and sit down while the presentation is still unfolding. You put your phone on vibration mode and it continues to vibrate through the table during the presentation as more calls come in. DISREPSCTFUL! How would you like to be the speaker that has spent energy and time to prepare a perfect presentation, only to be interrupted by you being distracted by text messages and telephone calls, and even disrupting others by leaving and returning to the room! How would you like to be the other guests who are distracted by you as you focus your attention on the phone instead of the speaker, and not participating in the deeper discussions?
Situation #3 – You have been pursuing a potential client for a long time and finally schedule a luncheon to discuss the possibility of providing what you are selling. You schedule your meeting for 12:00 p.m. and indicate to your potential client that you will be bringing materials that they have requested. Your client is at the restaurant at 12:00 p.m. sharp. You arrive late at 12:35 p.m.… 35 minutes late! You don’t have the materials previously requested by the client and upon which you agreed to bring. Your excuse for being late and not having the materials is that you got caught up on a call with another client and were simply running late/forgot the discussed items. DISRESPECTFUL! If you were a potential client, how would you like to be left sitting at a table by someone that was 35 minutes late because they prioritized someone else? How would you like to ask for information so that you could make a decision, only to find out that the person that was to provide the materials had “forgotten” to bring them entirely?
You see, we all make commitments by the use of explicit or implicit agreements. Many agreements in interpersonal relationships are “implicit.” We really do not recognize the many agreements that we make on a daily basis. Most are simply conveyed in our daily discussions without there even being an acknowledgment. Many, if not most, are misunderstood, misinterpreted, or not even recognized. Many lead to unfulfilled expectations that we do not even recognize we had until the agreements are not fulfilled.
Let’s look at a simple implicit agreement which we generally do not even recognize that we regularly make. We go into a restaurant to purchase a meal. We read the menu, give our order, our order is served to us, we eat it, and then we pay the check. An “implicit agreement” has been made between the restaurant and the patron. The restaurant implicitly agrees to provide the food ordered by the patron as described on the menu. The patron agrees to pay the check if they receive the food as ordered. If the restaurant does not provide the food as ordered, then they have broken their part of the agreement. If the patron does not pay the check after they have ordered the food and eaten it, then the patron has violated the agreement. Simple, implicit, and rarely recognized as an agreement in our daily activities!
Let’s look at another one. This is an example of an “explicit” agreement. We drive down the freeway at 90 MPH and a law enforcement officer pulls us over for speeding and issues us a ticket. Do we have an explicit agreement? Yes… several! First, when we obtained our driver’s license, we “agreed” that we would abide by the traffic laws of the State which requires certain speed limits. By signing for the driver’s license, we enter into an agreement with the State that we are out of integrity with the agreement when we chose to drive at 90 MPH. Second, when we signed the ticket that was issued by the law enforcement officer, we agreed to the requirements stated on the ticket to pay it or go to court. Both are clearly explicit agreement that we entered into.
Every day and maybe even every hour of the day, we are entering into all kinds of explicit or implicit agreements. Some we are conscious of, and most we are not. Some we know the consequences of if we are out of integrity with them, and most we are blind to until we are confronted with them after breaking the agreement. Each time that we have an agreement and we violate our commitment, we are directly or indirectly putting in jeopardy the respect, and ultimately trust, that others have in us. And we are simply unconscious to what is unfolding or are possibly in denial.
Because we are unconscious or “asleep” to the consequences of breaking agreements, we simply do not see the disrespect or loss of trust that unfolds.
At the heart of accountability is the concept of respons-ability! It goes like this:
- Do what you said you would do.
- As you said you would do it.
- When you said you would do it.
John Di Lemme, coach, author, and motivational speaker says…
“Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action-takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions.”
When we account for our actions, we take responsibility not only for those actions, but also for the consequences of those actions, intended or unintended. In doing so, we show a high level of respect for those around us and build a foundation of trust.
In interpersonal relationships there are usually two or more people involved. Teams can be any two or more people who come together for some purpose. Patrick Lencioni, the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” says…
“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”
As with most changes, behavioral changes that lead to greater respect and trust come from the willingness to be vulnerable. Brian Tracy, Canadian-American motivational public speaker and self-development author says…
“The glue that holds all relationships together… is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”
Again, we are hearing the same thing over and over, but with different words…
- Do what you said you would do.
- As you said you would do it.
- When you said you would do it.
If accountability is such a strong foundation for attaining respect and trust, what gets in the way of people holding themselves and others accountable? Here is the “Top Ten List” that I hear over and over:
Number 10 – I wasn’t clear on what I wanted
Number 9 – There are “good” excuses and reasons for lack of integrity
Number 8 – No one else holds people accountable, why should I?
Number 7 – I may have to do something about it
Number 6 – I don’t have the time
Number 5 – I don’t want to be in conflict with those around me
Number 4 – I may expose myself and they may see me for who I am
Number 3 – I want to avoid painful emotional discomfort or rejection
Number 2 – It simply is easier to do it myself
Number 1 – If I hold them accountable, they will hold me accountable!
When making an agreement, be perfectly clear so that there is no room for misinterpretation and ensure that you and the other party both understand that the expectations can and will be fulfilled. Describe what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and the time frame in which you are going to complete the agreement. Be specific! It is the Rule of Interrogatives… who, what, where, when, and how!
Human beings are “perfectly imperfect.” Regardless, in the end, our integrity molds our lives and how others relate to us. We create our own reality! A reality of respect and trust, or a reality of disrespect and distrust, doubt, leeriness, and suspicion. As British-American author, motivational speaker, and organizational consultant, Simon Sinek says so simply…
“Trust has two dimensions: competence and integrity. We will forgive mistakes of competence. Mistakes of integrity are harder to overcome.”
So, what choices do you want to make in your world of reality? What behaviors do you want to bring to ensure the kinds of relationships that are built on trust and respect? How are you going to be the model for what you want in your life’s surroundings? It is all a matter of choice… Accountability, Integrity, Respect and Trust, which in my world leads to SUCCESS!