Do you usually demand to be respected and appreciated “before” you’ll give either back? How has that worked for you? It has not worked well for me.
Recently, I decided to turn up my respect and appreciation of others dramatically! In a sort of experimental way, I wanted to test this approach. By showing respect and looking for the good in others in an honest and sincere way, I’ve gotten some amazing results.
I first learned about the tremendous value of respecting and appreciating others years ago in Dale Carnegie’s classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Although I’m pretty good at appreciating the good deeds of others, giving respect “before” a person gives it to me or earns it has been a struggle.
Until I tried this new approach of being respectful and looking for and communicating appreciation for good work to everyone regardless of their age or position, I wasn’t getting as much of either back as I’d like. Had I known what the response would be, I would have started long ago.
Here’s what I’ve been doing and the results have been astonishing.
Sirs and mams
Until we begin to greet each other by name and when fitting thereafter, I respond to every man with “sir” and every woman with “mam.” This includes the clerk at the convenience store, the mechanic at the auto repair shop, and the medical assistant at my doctor’s office. Here’s their reaction.
They light up with pride, treat me with special care, and respond back to me with a crisp, “Thank you sir!” or “Yes sir!” every time I see them. Sometimes they are so eager to say “Thank you sir!” that we say it to each other at the same time. The simultaneous giving of respect is powerful!
Recognize good work
If I notice that a doctor’s office is highly efficient, a staff member where I do business has done an outstanding job on a project, or a public place that is extraordinarily clean, I praise them for it. If appropriate, I also tell their boss and post a five-star review online.
When I approach to compliment them, they usually have a look as though I’m going to complain or ask them for something. When I praise them instead, their expression immediately changes to one of surprise, delight, and pride. It’s really gratifying to watch.
Whether I’ve praised them directly, notified their boss, and/or posted a positive review or comment online, their response to me is amazing. The next time I see them they shower me with appreciation, respect, friendliness, and a desire to be of service.
Here are two important caveats about communicating appreciation and showing respect.
- If your motivation is completely self-serving, communicated appreciation will be rejected. It must be done with honestly and sincerity for the benefit of the recipient. In other words, it must come from your heart.
- If a person is being disrespectful toward you in an abusive manner, showing respect will not change the situation. Confront them about it, limit contact, or end the relationship.
Give them a fine reputation
I do not know how I missed these human relations principles for so many years. Which is, of course, if you want respect, appreciation, and good service simply give it to everyone you meet. And especially to those who you want to receive it from. If they do not come through on some aspect of this, however, give them a reputation to live up to (also a Dale Carnegie principle).
Here’s an exaggerated example (so you get the point) of giving a person a reputation to live up to. You say to them, “I know your integrity, attention to detail, and work ethic will produce the results I’m hoping for.” Notice I use the word “hoping” instead of “expecting” to remove any sense of a demanding or threatening tone. I want them to be motivated to perform from inspiration and not from fear.
I’ve had such a positive response to respecting and appreciating others, it’s become a natural part of the way I interact with the world. And it pays off every day.
You get what you give.
Your interest in improving yourself by coming to a site like this one is a clear sign of your admirable character. Thank you, mam/sir, for visiting and taking the time to read this article. 🙂