Respect is Negotiated

Respect is a key component of successful negotiation and better organizational functioning. Respect is something we must negotiate for. It does not come solely from holding a high position, having great wealth or being skilled or learned.

Gaining respect from others has to be earned. Indeed, we have all worked for people whom we did not respect because, after working side by side with them for long periods, they failed to acknowledge our existence as human beings or associates.

This is a small thing, you might be thinking, the failure to emit a warm smile or to say hello as they pass us in the office. Others lose our respect for failing to say, “Thank you” for tasks completed well on difficult assignments. In dealing with others at work we sometimes discount how important courtesy and consistent friendliness are in conveying and cementing mutual respect. Small things and actions contribute much to the give and take of relationships.

Respect can grow even when people sit at opposite sides of the negotiating table. It has been my experience that when opponents present their positions truthfully, listen courteously, seek to understand and strive to reach fair agreement, they almost invariably leave the table liking and respecting one another. When problems of administration or execution arise later, the respect they have accrued at the negotiating table stands them well in fostering smoother resolution.

Respect is a key concession in negotiation, one that few other concessions can adequately match.

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