To Show you Care, Show your Respect

Preface: Our value of the month for April is Mālama, the Hawaiian value of caring, compassion, and stewardship. As we coach ourselves within this value, we are answering this question: What is Caring in business and at work?
Our April Ho‘ohana: Mālama

In the Hawaiian culture, the principle of respect is thought to largely come from a powerful combination of two values, Mālama and Aloha. Respect is the result of having both of these values determine one’s attitude, that is, an attitude of caring (Mālama) with love (Aloha).
[Taken from the teachings of Dr. George Kanahele, author of KÅ« Kanaka (Stand Tall)]

This opens quite a wealth of possibilities for showing you care in business and at work, doesn’t it.

Can you feel cared for if you feel you aren’t respected?

I don’t think so.

Last week, I explored this thought further by asking a group I spoke to, “What does it take for your manager to show you they respect you?”

These were some of the responses I got. A couple of them may be similar, but I wrote them down exactly as they listed them for me, and then as I later looked back at the list, I noticed a couple of things in how different words were chosen, and I decided to share this with you verbatim.

  • Listen with your full attention when I speak to you.
  • Treat me as well as you treat the customer.
  • Ask me my opinion once in a while, acknowledging that I have one too.
  • Respect my intelligence, and you respect me.
  • Treat me like an adult, not a child. Better yet, treat me like one of your peers.
  • Don’t expect me to wear a uniform you wouldn’t be caught dead in.
  • Or follow the rules that you don’t follow.
  • Have the attitude that I work with you, not for you.
  • Use my name, don’t just nod your head at me.
  • Don’t take me for granted while you deal with the problem children.
  • Hey, just notice I’m here; sometimes I feel invisible.
  • Equip me with the right tools for doing my job right.
  • Trust me; don’t double check everything I do.
  • Don’t do things over for me, explain better, or teach me; I can learn you know.
  • Smile at me; do I really have such a downer effect on you, or am I just not that important?
  • Don’t answer the phone, or read that (#&*!!) Blackberry in the middle of our conversations.
  • Pay me fairly, and don’t think that overtime makes all the bad planning okay.
  • Respect that I have a life outside this job.
  • Tell me the truth. I can understand it, and I can take it.

Pretty basic stuff, don’t you think?

In Managing with Aloha, I speak of Ho‘ohanohano as the value of dignity, where “conducting oneself with distinction” actually affords us our dignity so that we are respected for the example we set.  It’s all connected. Behaving better ourselves is perceived by others as respect for them. Showing our respect in this manner, gets interpreted as our caring for someone by honoring them.

Mālama; “To serve and to honor, to protect and care for.”

If you had been sitting in that group I queried, what would you have added to this list of how to respect you?


  1. says

    Rosa… what a great question to ask. I’d add: Remember what I’ve told you. When you do, you show that you respect me, my time, and the company that pays me for it.

  2. says

    Oooh, good one Stacy. I can think of some real-time examples your suggestion relates to with managers I am currently coaching. People expect that we will value their history with us, and that we take their opinions into account when they aren’t expressly spoken to us, but because of our history together it is felt we “should have known.”

  3. Rick Fuqua says

    Great list.
    Two to add:
    Don’t patronize me. If you can’t be sincere then let it rest.
    Follow up. Don’t make me ask twice.