“To get respect you have to give respect”
Most of us have heard this, and at a glance we probably agree with this statement. In fact, I recently read an article about how “Respect is a two-way street .”
I completely understand the motivation behind this statement. It means instead of demanding respect, give it first. I agree with the sentiment behind the statement, but not the statement itself.
Respect is a one-way street
Respect given to get something in return is manipulation, not respect. Respect your elders, respect authority, respect your boss, and respect your parents. Respect them because they deserve your respect – by their position, accomplishments, virtues, or maybe all three. For example, I respect my boss because he is my boss. I may not agree with him or even like him, but I execute on his vision without complaining or causing problems with my colleagues.
Because I respect him. By the way, I am not kissing butt when I say I both like and respect my current boss. But I have had bosses in the past that I don’t like, and they may not have respected me, but yet I still respect them.
Because respect is not a two-way street. Respect is a gift you give to someone freely without expectation.
Here is a statement I recently read:
“I will not treat an adult with respect if they don’t treat me with respect in return.”
Someone obviously disrespected this author, and I feel for them. People have gone to war as a result of being disrespected. But I don’t think it makes the statement right.
Be respectable instead
Give respect, be respectful, and, above all, be respectable. Being respectable will put you in a position to be respected (able to be respected). Have integrity, work your tail off, shut up and listen, make good decisions, build great relationships, and use your authority for good. Those things (along with others) will make you respectable.
That’s what I want to be – respectable. Able to be respected. Whether or not you will choose to respect me is on you. Hopefully more because of my virtues and less about my position.
But give respect freely without expectation. That is hard to do. And that, my friends, is why respecting someone is so dang respectable.