Some people find fault like there is a reward for it. – Zig Ziglar.
The boss was visibly upset as he spoke to his assistant, “Ms. Gomez, you know I have an important meeting this morning, but you were not here. Why were you late?”
Frantic, Ms. Gomez blurted out, “Sir, I was so afraid because the boy following me walked very slowly…”
It’s upsetting when the person we’re expecting at a particular time shows up late and tries to extricate himself or herself by offering typical explanations like, “The traffic was terrible.” or “My alarm did not work.” or “There was an emergency…” (without elaborating!).
When was traffic not terrible in this country? If your alarm didn’t go off on schedule, should you blame your alarm clock? If there was an emergency, would it be too difficult to explain briefly what happened that caused your tardiness? Or is it possible that you’re just not prepared to be on time so you end up late every time?
Equally upsetting is when a person promises to get back to us about something, and he or she never does.
Tiny little things – like showing up at work or in meetings on time, or fulfilling a promise as simple as a return call – define our character.
But times have changed drastically. Celebrated historian Barbara Tuchman called our times “…the Age of Disruption, a period when we’ve lost belief in certain kinds of moral understanding of good and bad.” What was proper and standard in communicating with other people during my childhood may not be applicable anymore today.
As a kid, I was taught that it was only proper to return phone calls, letters (remember those?) and messages. And also to keep one’s word. It was considered an insult if one doesn’t get back to a person or live up to his or her promise. Reputation and character were at stake.
Today, instead of a response, we often receive – nothing. Worse is that, the non-response is actually considered a response.
I realize that today, everybody is living a very busy life. The non-response gives us one less email or phone call to make. But I think I’ll stay with the old-fashioned way of communicating. I’ll rather reply even if it’s to tell the other person something he doesn’t want to hear. At least I was honest and respectful.
American Hall of Fame basketball player Bill Bradley says, “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.” And here’s what Mark A. Clement has to say about winning people’s respect, “Leaders who win the respect of others are the ones who deliver more than they promise, not the ones who promise more than they can deliver.”
To win the respect of the people around you:
Return calls promptly and respectfully.
Show up early.
Take responsibility for your actions.
Respect others first before others return the favor.
Under commit but over deliver.
Never keep people waiting. Making a dramatic entrance makes you look… dramatically irresponsible. And speak the truth all the time. Never think for a moment that by twisting the truth you become smart. Remember, every single action, decision and thought is either adding value to our character or diminishing it.
Love your neighbor as yourself. Scripture is always right to the core.