The funny thing about mutual respect is that you can’t control it. Sure, you can control whether or not you exercise on a regular basis, whether you control your temper, or whether or not you express respect to others, but mutual respect implies that two or more persons have respect for each other, and as unfortunate as it may seem at times, you can never control when and where others decide to show you respect. So, perhaps the question should be: “How can I encourage mutual respect?”
Read the five tips below and learn what you can do to create an environment that is more conducive to manifestations of mutual respect.
1) Encourage Mutual Respect with Time
It’s painfully obvious that we simply don’t get along with some personalities, but it is also fairly obvious that the more you get to know someone the more you begin to understand them and in turn, respect them. After those primary bad impressions “sizzle off” you might even make some surprising friendships.
If you truly want to foster mutual respect with people who may be hard to get along with, you are going to have to “buckle down” and set aside time to be with that person, work with that person, talk with that person and even play with that person. You might have to grit your teeth now and again but in the end you will gradually start to realize that his or her personality or point of view aren’t that hard to get along with after all.
2) Encourage Mutual Respect with Patience
Patience, in my opinion, is a combination of empathy and selflessness. In other words, patience is about other people, which is why patience is such a hard virtue to master. After all, who wants to spend time thinking about other people when we are so busy plowing through our own agendas? The truth is that the best people, the smartest people and the most successful people take a good long look at other people and express empathy and selflessness towards the people they associate with. Sincerity of action is also very important. A person who is simply going through the motions of being selfless (i.e. taking more time to talk with someone) will simply appear to be a fake if he or she doesn’t show sincerity.
3) Encourage Mutual Respect by Listening
Listening is one of the greatest manifestations of respect. Even if you think the ideas of a co-worker or acquantaince are way “off the mark,” listen carefully to what he or she is saying and then ask questions that truly make you curious. For instance, if your co-worker wants to raise the marketing budget and you think that is the stupidest idea you have heard during your entire career, don’t express your feelings, or your own thoughts regarding the supposed stupidity of the suggestion. Instead, start asking questions like “How will the company have enough to pay for the new hires in two months?” or “What do you think about our current marketing strategies? Do you think we should improve those first? You might find that he or she has some great ideas that were being poorly expressed because no one took the time to analyze them more fully.
4) Encourage Mutual Respect by Laughing
If you laugh with others, you can relax, and when you relax and help others to relax as well, more effective communication takes place every second. Take time to analyze your “opponent’s” sense of humor and be patient with him or her. Try to find common interests, or laugh about experiences that you’ve already had together without using humor that he or she might find offensive.
5) Maintain Mutual Respect with Honesty
Once a person trusts you and starts to show you respect, it doesn’t mean you will have his or her respect for a lifetime. In order to maintain mutual respect you have to be honest with that person even when it is extremely uncomfortable to do so, and you have to be honest every day–not just on the days that are convenient for you. A dishonest businessman or professional is truly no businessman or professional at all. If you are honest, you will become better at everything you do and others will crave your mutual respect.