From Little League to the Office Part II: Respect Others

After ‘hustle’ comes ‘respect others.’ Respect is in pretty short supply these days. The media tends to highlight the loudest, angriest and most provocative in politics, sports and entertainment. It is rare to see a story about the quiet leader or the people humbly going about making a significant impact in their world.

Alex was the smallest player on the team. He was also the best fielder and hitter on the field. What I remember most about him was how he treated everyone around him. Whenever I spoke to the team, he always intently listened. He was quick with a “Yes, sir!” and wanted to please. When teammates were having a tough game, Alex offered encouragement and a positive comment. He would even chat up opposing base runners while he covered second base. I never heard him complain about a bad call or a mistake made by another. He always expressed his appreciation to the mom with the after-game drinks and even thanked me for coaching him at the end of the season. Even if he had been the least talented player out there, I would want Alex on my team every time. His level of respect for others made everyone want to be around him.

Rule #2: Respect Others

Not everyone is going to be your favorite person. Some will really grate on your nerves, especially when you have to be around them regularly. I have found it really helps to assume you can learn something from every person you meet. Being naturally curious doesn’t hurt either. Try to find out something about their story. As you understand them better you usually find more grace for them. They might have come from or are currently in a difficult circumstance.

The next time you find yourself at a boring gathering look for someone to blossom. By that I mean, be interested and find out what makes them tick. The best way to be interesting is to be interested. What is more flattering than someone asking you questions about you? Have some good questions ready like, “What led you to do the work that you do? Have there been influential people who helped you along the way? Would you change anything if you could?” Then really listen to the answer. You will be surprised what you can learn in line at the buffet table.

Another way to show respect is to take constructive criticism well. Even if it is mean-spirited you can ask yourself, “Is there any truth in this?” Then chew up the grapes and spit out the seeds. Take the truth and make changes for the better. It becomes an easier discussion when you make it about the issue and not about you.

Finally, showing gratitude has the potential to make someone’s day as well as brighten your own outlook. I feel better after I have thanked someone else. When was the last time you hand-wrote a note thanking someone for his or her help? The comments I receive from the recipients keep me motivated to continue writing notes. You can make a big impact with a small gesture.

Although showing respect is not going to get you a lot of attention, it will display your character in a way that is in short supply today. In the end you will set yourself apart. All that is required is some thought and effort. The benefits are significant one person at a time. By the way, Alex is in ministry on a college campus today. Watch for Part III: Have Fun.

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