How to Exercise Complete Respect in a Positive Direction
by J. Bert Freeman
Includes excerpts from the book Taking Charge of Your Positive Direction also by J. Bert Freeman

Respect is the core of relationships and relationships are what make today’s families, businesses and organizations work. When respect is exercised in a positive direction, it adds power to relationships. Additionally, when respect is exercised to treat others the way they want to be treated, it adds value and meaning to relationships. Here are examples of respect in a positive direction.

Oftentimes, we hear phrases like “I don’t want to hurt their feelings” or “I don’t want them to think or feel… etc.” Just as easily, a person can say, “I want them to feel comfortable” or “I want them to feel supported by our efforts.” Very simply, talk toward the results that you want. In this case, the desired result was to want the person to feel comfortable or wanting other people to feel supported. If we learn that a person wants to be heard more or wants to be valued, then find ways to listen more. Find ways for the person to know that you do value her input. Sometimes people just have to know. Sometimes it is as easy as telling them.

True expressions of Complete Respect include respecting others when they are out of our sight, the same way as if they are in our presence. If you want to talk about someone or a group, make sure it is okay to talk about them or to poke fun or to call them names that could take away from their self-esteem. If you question whether it would be okay to talk about them that way, it is best to be quiet. Of course, you can take a minute to go and ask. Most important, rather than putting conditions on whether you will respect others, respect others anyway, whether they are in the room or out of the room.

Complete Respect includes two other considerations: 1) the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, treat others the way that you would like to be treated. Whenever you have strong differences of opinions or beliefs, you can use the Golden Rule. 2) The Platinum Rule, according to Dr. Tony Alessandra and Dr. Michael J. O’Connor (1998): “Do unto others as they’d like done unto them.” Sometimes people just want their names spelled correctly or they just want a ‘fair chance’ or they want to be valued customers. Treating others the way that they want to be treated is the expression of your respect for the value and needs of others in your daily interactions. So, Complete Respect includes your use of four abilities:
• Respect everyone anyway
• Respect everyone whether they are in the room or out of the room
• Treat others the way you would want to be treated
• Treat others the way that they would want to be treated
These are called abilities because you can control what comes out of your mouth and you can express those abilities in a positive direction.

It would be great if we could be respectful of everyone in exactly the same way. However, the people of the world are born, raised and live in different cultures. There are many different ways of life. Different things are important to different people. Even as you possess those four powerful abilities to exercise Complete Respect, you need different approaches. The many ways to approach the differences that exist among us characterize five (5) Domains of Complete Respect. They are:
• Cultural Respect – Respect for who we are: physical nature, beliefs, class, ethnicity
• Social Respect – Respect for customs, habits, preferences
• Professional Respect – Assuring equitable respect in matters of: performance, opportunity, advancement and status
• Temporal Respect – Respect for what is important to someone
• Spatial Respect – Respect for: the self-esteem, responsibility and personal space of others.

Differences often impact our attitudes. In each domain of Complete Respect, there are many ways in which we identify the differentness among us. I use the term differentness to acknowledge that we possess uniqueness as well as differences. To me, the term differences may only speak of what is different among us, at the expense of what is unique in each of us. The domains of Complete Respect help us to understand and adjust to the differentness of others. Knowing more about how to exercise Complete Respect, makes it easier to attitudinize yourself in a positive direction (expressing your attitude in the direction of the successes, results or outcomes that you want to see or experience). Take charge of the forward movement and forward improvement in managing respectful relationships in your life.

Author's Bio: 

Positive Direction Speaker, J. Bert Freeman and T.A.L.K. Associates have been providing expert assistance to organizations since 1987 in matters of organizational unity, leadership consistency and workplace equity. Uniquely, T.A.L.K. Associates is the only organization development and professional development company whose facilitators use the language, skills and approaches of Consistent Positive Direction in everything that they do. They are practitioners as they teach. J. Bert Freeman is also a member of the National Speakers Association. He is the founder of T.A.L.K. Associates. He has a reputation for practicing the Positive Direction that he teaches, both “on and off the stage”. He has a B.S. in Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.S. in Human Relations from Golden Gate University. He was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team and U.S. National Champion. He is the author of Taking Charge of Your Positive Direction.