My oldest grandson, a high school senior, was busy early this fall completing college applications. As part of that process, he wrote an essay on what he's learned from years of working in the family business.
Now I'm a proud grandma just as some of you are, and I think my grandkids are smart and amazing. But I admit that I was quite impressed at some of the things Spencer has already learned. One of those insights really jumped out at me because I saw several examples of the opposite during my years in various workplaces. Spencer wrote that "being a leader isn't about giving orders, but rather about earning the respect of those you're charged to lead and being willing to do anything you tell someone else to do." He wrote about respecting everyone who came to their family business for service, whether it be a company CEO or a taxi driver. Yes, oh, yes!
Spencer is right on. And Aretha Franklin was right when she sang her famous song about R-E-S-P-E-C-T, wasn't she? Respect is so essential in relationships, whether those are with workplace colleagues, customers, friends or family members. It begins with us respecting one another and respecting ourselves! It includes both earning the respect of others and also insisting on it. In other words, our self-image needs to be strong enough that we do not accept disrespect from other people. We do teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves—and by how we treat others, too. And we do need to be willing to do what we're asking others to do. Thanks, Spencer, for the good reminders!