Abstractions can be hard to explain
“Respect” is one of those terms that everyone is familiar with, and none asks for closer explanation on it when used. Still, sometimes it is good to know what the other party really thinks by something.
Words are just means to describe the concepts in our brains that may be quite complex composition of feelings, attitudes and other abstract categories. It can be hard with those abstract categories.
Just think of it – it could be easy to explain to an alien or, let us get more realistic here – a child what a “vase” is. It is a very concrete object with purpose of holding water and flowers, can be made of different materials, but is made mostly of glass or ceramics, and can take different forms and sizes, but is always concave since it is supposed to hold water etc. Also, an explanation by visual examples would do.
But explain to a child (or that alien, just for the sake of the example, let us have my imaginary alien involved) what “respect” is. Abstraction requires more complex explanations on different levels.
An attempt to explain
When LittleMissLisa talks about respect,
she refers to a feeling of regard, appreciation and esteem. If you are respected, you find yourself in the state of receiving honor from someone willing to give that honor, consideration and appreciation to you. Someone who respects you.
It is not enough to say “I respect you”. It is about all those things behind – it is about the attitude, feeling and willingness. It sounds complex, but it is one of the basics. Responding to someones needs is caring. Respect is chronologically what comes later in our development as human beings, but it is no less or more important than caring – it is as essential if you want your baby to develop into a child that feels valuable. That child will respect himself and others.
“Respect my authority!”
Some grown ups are satisfied to receive external manifestation of respect only. Children appear respectful, but their internal thoughts may be entirely different. They may behave so out of fear, or in order to get what they want if they learned that is a way to achieve their goals. Establishing true respect between parents and children is neither about fear nor appearances.
LittleMissLisa believes that actions are far more important than words. Members of a developing group, similar to a child, can understand what is meant by respect only if they have personally experienced it, not just were told.
The leader must respect the group before she can expect respect back. Often group’s leaders do not emerge as leaders by the natural dynamics of inter human relations and happenings within the group, but they come from the outside of the group and are appointed by someone else.
One expects that the leader should have the respect from the group. And she does, indeed, receive the external manifestations of respect, but what is really behind it? As with a child, group’s internal thoughts may be entirely different. If the leader is unknown to them, and there was no word of mouth, or some already by the group respected source did not give his input that could be trusted, and even then… how can that leader expect the respect in return? Yes, the signs are there, but…
Respect to get respected
The responsibility of a leader is huge. Every person in a leader position has a great moral obligation towards her group. It is not a role that should be taken lightly. It is not easy, but it is rewarding. LittleMissLisa has a great respect for her group, and got so much respect in return.
At start the reception she got was cold to lukewarm, because she had nothing except the tittle. After some time and considerable work to earn their trust, the real respect started emerging from the group.
LittleMissLisa wanted the group members to be able to express their beliefs and feelings honestly, without fear of punishment. She established the trust and respect and with time the group understood that she is accepting what they have to say. She may have not always agreed with them, but she demonstrated that she accepts their feelings, opinions and suggestions. They have discussed them continuously and came to the solutions that seemed best for the all of them.
Demonstrated respect from the leader to the group will produce respect for the leader in return; mutual trust and respect will form a synergy and a harmonic leader – group relation, and with time the leader will become more and a more of a facilitator (although the old fashion leader role description may be different).
If common trust and respect is present, so will be an understanding that a mature group can make better decisions than a single individual.