Respect yourself

When I was young and impressionable (and still trying to make an impression), I believed – foolishly – that I had to answer to people. Whether that was my boss, colleagues or peers, I was under the impression I had to answer to them in all I did.

Now, before folks get the wrong impression, yes, it’s definitely important to have some form of hierarchy to get things done. This doesn’t necessarily mean a boss/employee relationship, though – think of it more like expertise and the wisdom to make the right things happen.

But the idea that you have to answer to someone because they say you have to? Screw that.

Just like trust and respect needs to be earned, so does answering to someone. You want me (or others) to listen to you? Show me you know your shit, and show me you’ll use that knowledge to do things the right way.

Which brings us back to the opening statement.

People in positions of power may feel you have to answer to them, because their job title says so. But here’s the thing – people don’t stay in companies for 25 years or more anymore.

People also see through BS faster, and know that – thanks to social media – it’s easier to be connected to someone that can help them make their next move than it was just five years ago, when an old boy network and a good suit was the “in” to a new position.

What this means is that employees don’t need to take the kind of shit anymore that they used to stay silent about. Nor do they have to worry about a damaged reputation, since the truth always comes out. Always.

Instead, now people can choose what really matters to them – respect, reputation, family. Instead of answering to those that don’t deserve it, you now answer to those that truly matter.

Which, at the end of the day, is where the real rewards are anyway…

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
31 comments
Kneale Mann
Kneale Mann

Another good one, Danny. I was on a client call last week and someone on the team reminded everyone that none of us was forced to be on the call or on the project. We've all been asked in one form or another whether our solution, service, product, fill in blank, is necessary. The answer is no. Water is necessary. Food is necessary. The rest is a choice. Make them wisely, cherish your ability to have the ability to choose, and don't let the naysayers heap their opinions about you, on you, if you don't want.

HowieG
HowieG

My last corporate job I had 6 sales managers in 5 years. Two were the GM's filling in. So of those four the first guy who hired me never looked me in the eye so was always hard to tell if he was credible. Then the next guy tried having me do all his work as well as micromanaged me. Then the next guy was great and he got promoted to running sales for 4 divisions. Figures. Then the last guy was a total wimp. He chickened out of a call with a pissed off customer because he was new. Totally lost my respect and the final 8 months of my employment he never earned it back. Yup answer to no one but yourself.

Ralph Dopping
Ralph Dopping

It all comes down to respect for me. Respect is the main reason I left the last job I had and the main reason why I am at the one I have now. There is nothing else but that for me.

Josh
Josh

I see it as being mindful of our sense of self so that when the lights go out at the end of the day we are comfortable with the knowledge that we did the best we could. The challenge sometimes lies in remembering that being asked to do something by your supervisor isn't the same thing as being abused. Much lies in the manner of how it is done...

Op Ed Marketing
Op Ed Marketing

Great post as always, Danny. It was because of an endless stream of bosses who were great at politicking and manipulating for the purpose of advancing their own careers (and who, well, knew shit about marketing and creating a positive customer experience) that I left the corporate world to start my own gig. And now, I couldn't be happier :) Cheers! Robert. P.s. How's the wee bairn? My 9-month old Isla just started crawling last week.

Kenny Rose
Kenny Rose

Years ago when I worked in an intensely political government environment I used to be called a troublemaker. I generally treated people in positions of power with the respect they showed me. I thought they are the same as me. They are human. Those that had the undeniable steel of leadership whilst also being able to treat every one with respect and humility. I would work myself to the bone just to make sure I repaid that humility and commitment to doing what was right. The majority of them found that very refreshing because I would speak my mind. Always with respect for the fact they worked hard to earn their right to lead. Irrespective of the political context of our work. Today the social web has transformed all aspects of business communication and leadership. People want to be heard. And know they have the platforms to spread their message. We don't have to wait for permission. We never did. We just have to turn up, speak our truth and be prepared to learn and grow when another truth opens our perspective to an alternate universe. Never before have people had the opportunities the social web provides. What we do with that power is up to us.

Naomi
Naomi

Danny, how could you possibly have known that this blog post was EXACTLY what I needed to read first thing this morning? You saved me from a miserable week :) Thanks for always writing such insightful and entertaining posts! I have actually been thinking a lot about this topic. It seems we still have remnants of some old social customs and habits leftover in our society (from the Middle Ages... lol).

Neicole Crepeau
Neicole Crepeau

Thanks for sharing this, Danny. One of the BS items I think you're touching on is verbal abuse. I think this message is so important, especially for young people to understand. I tell my kids (and especially my daughter) that you should never put up with someone berating you, insulting you, or speaking badly to you. Not in your personal relationships nor in your work ones. I don't know why so often people put up with managers abusing them verbally. And I don't know why organizations put up with it and even promote to positions of power the a-holes who yell or belittle. It points up a flaw in our attitudes and culture. It's not acceptable, ever. Thank you!!

Mark Harai
Mark Harai

Top of the morning to you Mr. Brown! I don't think the changes we've seen in business and the technology that powers it will change anybody. The opportunity to 'answer to yourself' and not others has always been available to every human-being since forever... And that's been proven by the countless self-made men and women of times past who's accomplishments, life and words inspires the next generation of ass-kickers. There are leaders, there are followers, there are strong personalities, there are milk toasts - and there are those those who don't take shit from anyone. Ever. And I don't think there's really a choice in the matter - you're born that way...

Stanley Rao
Stanley Rao

great post and agree that you need to answer the ones you are working for

Anand Patel
Anand Patel

I have always been a strong believer that although you should technically respect your elders, it should not be automatically given. There comes a point where that respect has to be earned so I most definitely agree with your points!

gerri50
gerri50

Nice post! One thing that I think of when reading this is "CHOICE". I tell some of my colleagues on a regular basis that we all have a choice and chose to be in the situation we are in at a given time. If it is bad one, you are not stuck in it, you can make the choice to do something about it by changing it or getting out or away from it!

Mustafa Khundmiri
Mustafa Khundmiri

"Instead of answering to those that don’t deserve it, you now answer to those that truly matter." ... well said Danny! I really wish more people understand this.

Jon Loomer
Jon Loomer

Even more true when you're self-employed. Best to get into this habit BEFORE going out on your own, though.

Hessie Jones
Hessie Jones

Thanks Danny! Totally agree. Accountability starts with the individual–to himself. I live and die by my own words and they take responsibility for the outcome! It goes with the territory. If you can't stand behind your work or your words then you ultimately have to live with yourself. In companies, people look to the hierarchy for validation when all they have to do is trust their instincts. Don't be afraid of the outcome. Just trust in yourself that you've done the right thing and you have no regrets. This made my night:) Thanks

Hessie Jones
Hessie Jones

Thanks Danny! Totally agree. Accountability starts with the individual–to himself. I live and die by my own words and I take responsibility for the outcome! It goes with the territory. If you can't stand behind your work or your words then you ultimately have to live with yourself. In companies, people look to the hierarchy for validation when all they have to do is trust their instincts. Don't be afraid of the outcome. Just trust in yourself that you've done the right thing and you have no regrets. This made my night:) Thanks

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Awesome comment, sir, and so damn true. We moan and bitch about our lot in life - but we do have that choice. Does it mean a lesser pay? Maybe - but is that such a bad trade off for personal happiness and life with your family? I know my answer.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

There are enough assholes in the world to have to put up with any in particular for too long, mate. May as well be the asshole you put up with, if it comes down to it. ;-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

That's a great point in your last sentence, mate. So many confuse the two and don't do anything about the latter example - and that's why so many people get away with being bullies. Here's to common sense and being able to speak out.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Now you just have to deal with manipulative clients... ;-) It definitely gives a nice sense of freedom, being able to choose who you work with and report to. Here's to your continuing, mate. And the girl is awesome, really filling out into her personality - we'll have to get that beer soon that we're always on about! :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

I'm reading a really interesting book at the minute called Intellectuals and Society, mate, that looks at this topic - how position can foster a superior attitude, when the expertise isn't in the superior individual so it kinda negates their whole belief and ecosystem. It's funny how we can allow ourselves to be led by false prophets, when the truth of the matter is right there in front of our eyes. Cheers, sir!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

You know, I was reading all the vitriolic comments Cathryn Sloan received after her "25 and under" post the other week. It amazed me to see how much trolling there was there, by people who should know better. Did her points have merit? Some did, some didn't - but that's the beauty of opinion and having the openness from people to hear those views. The minute we decry people for doing that is the minute we let the bullies win.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Exactly, mate! As long as we can look ourselves and those we love in the eye and say, "I did the right thing today", that's all that truly matters. Here's to our decisions being ours.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hi Anand, I love your point about respecting your elders, yet also knowing that respect has to be earned since everything can be based on a technicality. Thanks, sir!

Hessie Jones
Hessie Jones

great point Anand. Respect is earned, not an obligation.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Exactly, mate! No-one forces us to do something we don't want to - not when we're truly honest with ourselves. There is always something else we can do, or someone else we can be with, if we're not truly happy. Oftentimes, apathy and the comfort zone are the two biggest stumbling blocks to the real us.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Thanks, Mustafa - it's definitely something that's very dear to me, and has helped carve the paths I've followed so far.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

I had a conversation with a good friend recently, and we were talking about some of the choices we've made in our lives. Ironically, we've both had very different career paths and personal paths - yet we've both come out exactly where we want to be at the same time, because we did what we felt was right, and trusted our gut. Powerful thing, instinct. Cheers, boss!

Mark Harai
Mark Harai

Well I don't sound like a milk toast, do I? There's a funny memory with this statement Ralph. In another life, I was involved in funding startup cable and cellular companies. I had several hundred brokers funding several projects throughout the U.S. and one day while I was introducing a new project in the Midwest, I was explaining how they needed to inspire trust and confidence to the investors we were assisting in the project and as I was mid-stream in a motivational talk, a broker who had not successfully sold any units in the project stood up in front of about 250 brokers and said, "I don't sound milky, do I?" You probably had to be there, but I never seen 250 men laugh so hard in all of my life : P