The Psychology of Respect

“Yes, sir.”
A phrase both infinitely helpful and significantly underused. Useful for both casual affirmations and expressing the understanding of difficult verdicts.

Men thrive on Respect.

It is miracle grow for their soul like coffee and conversation is for us girls. Here’s a couple ways to practice a respectful “Yes sir” in everyday situations. First Example: “Meg, can you grab more lightbulbs while you’re in the back?” “Yes sir!” I could respond “yes/yeah/sure/whatever” or I could use this helpful phrase to add respect to my interactions with my manager. Like a little salt makes the food taste better, a little respect makes the friendship smoother. It reminds him he’s in charge, he’s the boss and I’m happy to help however I can. Second Example:  It’s Christmas week. The store doesn’t have enough hands on deck and I didn’t know how to make the schedule to accomodate our lack of personnal. This is my first Christmas as a manager so I have no comparisons. I don’t realize we’re short staffed. Three months earlier, “Robert” scribbled a few hours in and called it a day. No calculations. Nothing. Just impatience. Robert’s impatience and my ignorance meet reality the day after Christmas. They don’t call it Boxing day for nothing. When I saw him throw papers in the air I knew it was going to be a long day. He proceeded to cut an hour and half of time off my close earlier in the week. Paranoid about payroll motivated him but I wanted pay for all my forty hours. Interactions ground as smoothly as a knife scraping glass. One minute he was angry, the next he was docile. I didn’t leave until he was happy. Otherwise I knew it would carry over to the next day. I worked 11 hours.

That is a good situation to use “Yes, sir.”

Was “Robert” commiting payroll fraud? Absolutely. Was it his fault for not hiring parttimers? Yes again. Was I in the right for respecting him anyways, albeit through gritted teeth? YES.

Respecting a man while he’s making big mistakes gives you credibility later.

In week we were on good terms and two months later he left the company to start his own business. It took a few months with the new manager to get over the paranoia he’d left me. He offered me a job a year later but I wisely turned him down. I know better than to walk back into an abusive situation. If I were in that situation again I would start looking for work immediately.

“Be as Wise as a Serpent and as Innocent as a Dove.”

-Jesus in the Gospel of Mathew 

Always let them think you’re a dove … before you silently back away and disappear forever. Unless they acknowledge their mistake and earn your trust again. But that must be very intentional indeed.


Share on Facebook and Twitter