February 12, 2013 6 Comments
Relationships are complex connections that take work. I believe there are four fundamental aspects that make a strong relationship. In case you missed my first two posts, I suggest you catch up via the links below:
Which brings me to the third relationship fundamental: Respect
You may be asking; “Why have trust and respect? Are they not synonymous?”
Often times, I believe that we use trust and respect to describe similar characteristics, because they tend to go hand-in-hand; but both are fundamentally different.
Trust typically relates to confidence. Confidence in, about or related to someone/something. Respect is a relation or reference; an esteem, an honour, a right, or a privilege.
Can you trust someone without necessarily respecting them? Or can you respect someone you do not trust? Absolutely!
Recently, we had some contractors and repair companies come and do some work around the house. I had asked friends for recommendations, conducted reference checks and felt comfortable with the professionals we chose. In essence I trusted them to be in my home, do quality work and not snoop through my underwear drawer (so…no one in their right mind would, but you get my point). I trusted them. What I did not have (at the time) was respect for the professionals. To be clear: it’s not that I did not respect the profession or the work they do. But, I didn’t know these people, we only spoke on the phone and they had not gained my respect. In both cases, when the job was completed with exceptional results, they earned my respect. Initially however, I did not have enough information to respect them.
Conversely, when my wife and I went looking for a van (yes, we are approaching legendary cool status) we went to several local dealers. One dealership in particular, was the home of our van-to-be front-runner. We were greeted in a timely manner, the sales person was gracious and respectful, and he was able to answer all our questions about the van. My wife and I respected his knowledge and professionalism. Skip ahead to the “let’s talk dollars” phase. We had a hard time trusting the words that were coming out of his mouth. I know a little about margins with this particular car manufacturer and I understand that they tend to be tighter than industry standard. But for the sales person to tell us that a saving of $1000 off MSRP was “pretty much at cost” – I’m not buying it! That may have been true of the base model, but we were far above that (power sliding door are SO COOL)!
Respect is a critical component of any relationship: more specifically, mutual respect. I’m sure I have sold to people who didn’t like me, but I made sure they respected me. I worked hard with them, I followed through on my commitments and I delivered on all of their expectations. I find it becomes very hard to respect someone if they are not willing to do the same for me.
“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” – Jackie Robinson, first African-American Major League Baseball player
“Respect cannot be learned, purchased or acquired – it can only be earned” – Unknown