Respect is the lubricant of healthy relationships. Our relationships are fragile when there is little trust. Thus, we can be hypersensitive to disrespect. It can keep trust from ever developing and allow for healthy relationships.
The give and take in a consulting client relationship is like a dance. Both parties have to move in synchrony and in step. If one is out of step then it can cause stumbling. I think it is much easier to work together when there is mutual respect. Here is what typically occurs in such a relationship:
- Openness. Problems are easier to share as well as fears and struggles. Knowing we are human and accepted creates a secure environment for real issues to be surfaced and addressed.
- Risk-taking. Respect can breed security which allows for more risk. Your strengths being affirmed is highly empowering. Accepting your successes and failures creates great freedom and perspective. Secure relationships can open up more opportunity from taking more risk together.
- Change. Without trust we are on guard. With these overtones in our relationships, we are more apt to change because the conditions are ripe for influence.
- Execution. Out of regard for the relationship, each party is held to a higher standard and expectation. I have found this is healthy for motivation on both sides for delivering on promises and keeping to agreements.
I would argue that if you do not have respect in place then you do not have much of a relationship. There must be some other motivation such as money, vanity or power that may be the foundation of your association. It may be pragmatic, but it is hollow at best for moving towards substantive achievements.
Think about your relationships and assess the level of respect that is there. It’s a good indicator for how far you will go with the other person.
What have been your experiences?