Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 17, Issue 29;   July 19, 2017: Regaining Respect from Others

Regaining Respect from Others

by

When you feel that a colleague has lost professional respect for you — or never really had respect for you — what can you do about it? Check your conclusions, check whether it's about you, and ask for a dialog.
Mutual respect between a soldier and a military canine

Mutual respect between a soldier and a military canine. And maybe something a little more than that.

Mutual professional respect among colleagues is essential for groups or teams whose work entails collaboration. When the fabric of respect is stretched or tattered, collaboration becomes difficult or impossible. Although mutual respect between two people is inherently bidirectional, when it breaks down, it might break largely in one direction. That is, Alpha (the disrespected), might still respect Beta (the disrespector) even though Beta no longer respects Alpha. Here are some tactics to use if you sense that a colleague has lost respect for you.

Check for alternative explanations
If you believe you've lost someone's respect, that's information, but is it correct? What have you seen or heard that led you to this conclusion? If Beta actually said, "I've lost professional respect for you," that's one thing, but if you base your conclusion on, say, not having received an invitation to the last meeting, that's a much less sturdy foundation for any conclusion.
Conclusions based on data aren't data. Separate data you have from conclusions you've reached. For each conclusion, find two other hypotheses that explain the data. For example, if you weren't invited to a meeting, is it possible that the invitation was sent but not received? If you can find other explanations for your observations, perhaps you haven't lost Beta's respect after all.
Check whether it's about you
Professional rivalry — impersonal rivalry between entire professions — can manifest itself as personal rivalry between members of the rival Before concluding that
you've lost someone's
respect, think carefully. Not
everything is about you.
professions. If Beta seems dismissive of Alpha's views, or if Beta systematically limits Alpha's participation, and if they are of different professions, or represent different organizations, professional rivalry might be afoot.
Before concluding that you've lost someone's respect, check for professional rivalry. Maybe what you've observed isn't about you.
Ask for a dialog
If you haven't found an alternative explanation for Beta's behavior, consider initiating a dialog with Beta. If you know that your own behavior precipitated the problem, and an apology is in order, ask Beta for permission to apologize. If you know of no transgression on your part, apologizing isn't an option. Instead, explain to Beta that you've sensed that there might be a problem, and ask for an opportunity to learn what it might be, if there is a problem.
A true dialog is a one-on-one conversation. The presence of witnesses in earshot creates a venue for a performance, or worse, a debate. Dialogs are more likely to generate positive outcomes than are performances and debates. If Beta doesn't want to participate in a dialog, alternative explanations for your observations are more likely. Search again.

Always remember that you cannot change someone else's mind. Only that mind's owner can change that mind. What you can do is create conditions that help the mind's owner to change. Be respectful of others, and, more important, be respectful of yourself. Go to top Top  Next issue: Strategic Waiting  Next Issue

303 Secrets of Workplace PoliticsIs every other day a tense, anxious, angry misery as you watch people around you, who couldn't even think their way through a game of Jacks, win at workplace politics and steal the credit and glory for just about everyone's best work including yours? Read 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics, filled with tips and techniques for succeeding in workplace politics. More info

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrendPtoGuFOkTSMQOzxner@ChacEgGqaylUnkmwIkkwoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

This article in its entirety was written by a 
          human being. No machine intelligence was involved in any way.Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

This article in its entirety was written by a human being. No machine intelligence was involved in any way.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Emotions at Work:

A happy babyPeek-a-Boo and Leadership
Great leaders know what to say, what not to say, and when to say or not say it, sometimes with stunning effect. Consistently effective leadership requires superior empathy skills. Here are some things to do to improve your empathy skills.
The musical energy behind "Shall We Dance" (1937)What We Don't Know About Each Other
We know a lot about our co-workers, but we don't know everything. And since we don't know what we don't know, we sometimes forget that we don't know it. And then the trouble begins.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the Union of South AfricaPeace's Pieces
Just as important as keeping the peace with your colleagues is making peace again when it has been broken by strife. Nations have peace treaties. People make up. Here are some tips for making up.
The Japanese battleship Yamato during machinery trials 20 October 1941The Focusing Illusion in Organizations
The judgments we make at work, like the judgments we make elsewhere in life, are subject to human fallibility in the form of cognitive biases. One of these is the Focusing Illusion. Here are some examples to watch for.
Deepwater Horizon oil spill imagined in true color on May 17, 2010, by the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's TERRA satelliteHandling Heat: II
Heated exchanges in meetings can compromise both the organizational mission and the careers of the meeting's participants. Here are some tactics for people who aren't chairing the meeting.

See also Emotions at Work and Conflict Management for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Saturn during equinox — a composite of natural-color images from CassiniComing May 22: Rescheduling Collaborative Work
Rescheduling is what we do when the schedule we have now is so desperately unachievable that we must let go of it because when we look at it we can no longer decide whether to laugh or cry. The fear is that the new schedule might come to the same end. Available here and by RSS on May 22.
The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill BridgeAnd on May 29: Rescheduling: Project Factors
Rescheduling is what we do when we can no longer honor the schedule we have now. Of all causes of rescheduling, the more controllable are those found at the project level. Attending to them in one project can limit their effects on other projects. Available here and by RSS on May 29.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrendPtoGuFOkTSMQOzxner@ChacEgGqaylUnkmwIkkwoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500-1000 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at X, or share a post Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
Technical Debt for Policymakers BlogMy blog, Technical Debt for Policymakers, offers resources, insights, and conversations of interest to policymakers who are concerned with managing technical debt within their organizations. Get the millstone of technical debt off the neck of your organization!
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsLearn how to make your virtual global team sing.
101 Tips for Managing ChangeAre you managing a change effort that faces rampant cynicism, passive non-cooperation, or maybe even outright revolt?
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
Exchange your "personal trade secrets" — the tips, tricks and techniques that make you an ace — with other aces, anonymously. Visit the Library of Personal Trade Secrets.
If your teams don't yet consistently achieve state-of-the-art teamwork, check out this catalog. Help is just a few clicks/taps away!
Ebooks, booklets and tip books on project management, conflict, writing email, effective meetings and more.