How important is ‘respect’ for you? For me it’s vital.

National Respect Day falls on September 18th. Showing respect in business is very important for me, as I’m interested in people, and I’m not driven by money.

What I mean by that is that I will put respect before money in my business and in my life – and this can work in all sorts of ways. I first learned this when I did some personality insight into my own behaviours (something I thoroughly recommend).

I assumed that money would be my key driver – I set up my business to make money and replace my professional income after redundancy however it turned out that it was not the case. Respect and being valued came out on top. In my world, respect and money are intrinsically linked with respect being my top priority. I’ve learned this is something which is integral to me and my personality, and I will walk away from any scenario where I feel there is disrespect. And I have done.

I hope to always treat people with kindness, courtesy and respect and I have to be pushed very, very hard to lose my temper or throw my toys out of my ‘pram’ – however more often than not, when that happens it will be because someone has disrespected me – or I feel they have.

In my business, particularly, it is about listening to others without bias, and give them time to share their opinions, without judgment – unless of they tell me something which I deem to be unethical or illegal. I will then share my honest opinion about that – and as a journalist that is more common than you might think.

In my consultancy, I work with a huge range of businesses, helping them to get their stories in front of the right audience. I need to treat them with respect, so they trust me to tell their stories truthfully and I can give honest feedback about how to use those stories to align with the business and the brand.

9 Issues around respect in business:

  1. When you are networking, and other business people ask for advice in a public arena, don’t disrespect them by passing negative comments, instead, give helpful, positive criticism that can help them move forward. However remember you are serving, not pandering. Don’t tell them what they want to hear if you know instinctively that they are heading down a wrong path.
  1. Be careful who you are nasty and disrespectful to on social media, because you can do your own reputation a great deal of damage. You never know who is watching you and you may unwittingly damage a future business relationship. If you feel you have to say something negative, take some time and come back to it later. In most cases that initial feeling will pass and you’ll move on, saying nothing.
  1. One thing which often annoys me is being taken for granted in terms of my professional skills. People who expect me to do things for them free of charge – they want ‘my stuff’ but don’t value ‘my stuff’. Expecting someone to work for free or at very low cost is ignoring all of the years I’ve put into learning and building my knowledge, expertise skills.
  1. Following on from the previous point, another, is when someone offers my business services to another person, (often a charity), without asking me if I’m willing to the do the work first. This happens a lot on social media. It puts me in a difficult position where I have to justify my costs. Often the conversation will involve me saying ‘yes happy to help but what’s the budget?’ which means very early on it’s clear that working with me involves investment.
  1. Respecting the community, you work within. It is important to know and understand the people you work with, and what is important to them. Be respectful of their beliefs and cultural backgrounds.  For me, his can be very important when writing stories about specific communities, geographically or otherwise.
  1. Be respectful about how you deal with people you are unhappy with. Saying things in the wrong way, can damage theirs and your professional reputation. This is true in the real world or online. In the real world I generally simply remove myself from their orbit and mostly they won’t even notice. I’ve probably only had angry words in a public setting once since running my own business. On social media, I’d recommend going quietly rather than making a fuss – try not to make an emotional response. After all, it’s likely something you’ve done or said at some time has triggered someone else and they’ve walked away from you. No one is perfect.
  1. Not paying on time for work done. This is very disrespectful to the business owner who has delivered their services on time and as promised. Why on earth wouldn’t you take the well-mannered option of paying them on time! Making them wait for payment tells them you don’t care about them, and they are not likely to work for you again, and you can easily get yourself a reputation as a late payer. I always try to pay on time and apologise if that hasn’t happened eg. Invoice got lost or went to spam in my email.
  1. I sometimes have to work with people when we disagree with each other on certain matters of opinion ie. politics or a business issue. As a journalist, I have to ignore my personal thoughts on the matter, and do a professional job, respecting the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether I like it or not! My rule of thumb for this is – is this opinion held authentically and/or based on personal experience? Is it legal, tasteful & decent?
  1. How you treat other business people and clients, helps relationships that have longevity, where you have mutual respect, and trust each other.

Next week I’m going to talk the things I have gratitude for in my life.