Mutual Respect

September 22, 2014

R E S P E C T
Find out what it means to me
R E S P E C T
Take care, T C B  ~Aretha Franklin

In defining our core values at ACT, one of the most important values we noticed that we share (and insist on) is that of mutual respect.  What is mutual respect?  What does it mean?

Mutual respect means a lot of things.  Why is it important to you?  I will tell you right up front that unless you can interact with other associates in an atmosphere of mutual respect, you will not be successful at ACT.  But if you think hard on it, treating others with mutual respect really is in your best interest because it makes you more successful.

Mutual respect is really an ancient time honored idea and works for our betterment both in our personal lives as well as in our business lives.  At its simplest definition, it is the “Golden Rule.”  That is to say, “Treat others as you would want them to treat you.” Simple, direct, kind and practical.  After all, no one likes to be demeaned or yelled at or put down.  Issues don’t get resolved this way.  Think about how you feel when someone has insulted you or put you down.  I’m sure you remember these instances for a long time.  As Mary Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  It is also probably true that kind words fade from memory over time but words that made you feel bad stick around forever and accumulate like junk in the basement.  So think about this….in conducting yourself around others, do you water and replenish the kind words to keep them fresh, or do you keep accumulating bad feelings in the basement?  If you do the former, people will always want to work with you –  if you do the later, people will dislike you and want to avoid you.  In a business that requires a lot of teamwork and communication, ask yourself this question:  “How effective will I be as a member of the team, if people would prefer to avoid me, or even worse, harbor grudges against me for things I have long forgotten, but they have long remembered?  Conversely, how successful will I be if people look forward to working with me?  The answers are obvious.

How do you do it?  We all have good days and bad, good moods and bad. We also all have people we like and some we don’t like as well.  In business we run into a lot of different personalities; whiners, blamers, avoiders, excuse makers, narcissists, drama queens and kings, and the perpetual gloomy Eeyores.  But we must all work together to get a job done to be effective. There will undoubtedly be situations where our first instinct is to get our back up or try to avoid the person.   But we must deal with all types to be effective at work.

So we must deal with each other.  Earn the reputation as a respectful person.  One of the most effective ways of communicating with others both honestly and directly, without impinging on their dignity, no matter how hard the topic of the conversation may be, is to live by the maxim, “Attack the issue, not the person.”  If you attack the issues, hard or unpleasant as it may be, you leave intact the other person’s sense of value and dignity.  By doing this you can steer the conversation into a solution.  If they get personal, don’t go there.   Bring the conversation back to the issue, and stay away from the personal level.  You’ve heard about what happens when you wrestle a pig?  You both get dirty.

By focusing on the issue, you will earn the added benefit of respect and trust the next time you need to address an issue together.  But if you take the lazy out of attacking the person, a couple of bad things happen.  For one, you are in a conversation which will not find a good solution, and you will leave a smell in the room, kind of like burnt toast.  It will linger a long time, making your next conversation even more difficult.

We have many challenges in trucking that we need to work together to solve.  Our value of mutual respect is more than a nice thing to do….it is a business necessity.  Think about this bedrock value because it is very important to all of us at ACT.  Those that share this important value of mutual respect are good members of the ACT team and can be successful here.

Happy Trucking!  ~Tom