Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Respect Goes a Long Way

Someone made a comment this morning on an older post and prompted me to blog today about different styles of dealing with people and the results one receives because of perceived treatment. I guess that's all just a fancy way of saying respect begets respect.

As you're probably are aware, I worked for the University of California for many years. During that time, I saw many changes in administration. We'd become accustomed to doing business by one Dean's standards and find ourselves faced with a 'changing of the guard.' The thing I noticed during all those staffing switches is that the leaders who treated employees with respect and made them feel like an integral part of the 'wheel' ran a much more happy and productive office.

Why is that so hard to figure out? Although we all have different leadership and organizational skills, I doubt there is anyone who wants to work with someone looking over their shoulder constantly, and reminding them daily of their position on the organizational ladder. Employees usually have the intelligence to know who is the 'boss', so constant reminders scream insecurity if one has to elevate their own ego at the expense of someone else's.

It's not only in the working environment, it's life in general. Somewhere along the line, we've forgotten to say please and thank you. Now that most of our communication is done by email--a faceless and emotionless venue, it's even harder to detect appreciation or that friendly smile.

I had a brief Christmas stint working as a clerk in a department store. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I spent my days refolding garments that people left strewn about after inspection, picking up garbage someone felt the need to deposit amongst the clothing displays, and serving rude and thankless people who grumbled the entire time they stood at my register. This is not an exaggeration. The cheerful and friendly people were far and few between, and when they did show up, it made me want to return their smile and be more prompt and helpful. I'm a friendly person by nature, and discovering more Scrooges than Angels at Christmas was a big disappointment.

There is an old saying..."walk a mile in my shoes." If we all had to do that, I guarantee we might see the world in a totally different light. I know that having a bad supervisor made me a better one. Respect was always key.

Dealing with the public and experiencing their lack of appreciation for what a salesclerk endures made me a much better customer. If I change my mind about something I have in my basket, I return it to where I got it. If I unfold something...I refold it. It may not be as perfect and no one may notice my efforts, but I feel better about who I am.

A smile usually begets a smile and a helping hand gets one in return. Evaluate the kind of person you are and see how you'd like hanging out with someone like YOU. Almost everywhere you go, there is someone in need of a 'warm fuzzy'. That's a term for appreciation and kindness rolled together. Give one away today. You'll feel better and you might improve someone's outlook on life.

A new friend of mine has a great signature tag on her email, so I'm borrowing it today and wishing "may you always have enough," whether it be smiles, appreciation, helpful attitudes, or love. Whatever you need to float your boat...may you always have it.


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