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Literally Lorna column: It's all about earning respect

Respect your elders, respect yourself and respect others. I’d imagine most people reading this have been brought up the same way.

Up until recently, I haven’t had a problem with those quips; quite the contrary. Some of the problem might be that I myself am one of the elders in my work group right now. I don’t think so, but those 20-some-year-olds probably do.

Having an immature, knowledge-lacking, first-time supervisor to call “your own” doesn’t make me feel any younger either. This is one of the joys of being in the work force in the 21st century. Up to four generations of working peers around you, to some you are still young but to others, you’re the elder. With so many generations in the workforce right now, respect seems to bounce around like a kickball during fourth-grade recess.

Respect for all, is that possible? Yes, of course, but it works better when it’s a two-way street. Respect means to listen, to try to understand, to work toward a common goal, to use language that enriches, increases motivation and promotes positive behavior.

So imagine how frustrating it is to have an immature, knowledge-lacing, first-time supervisor who doesn’t treat you with the respect you deserve (by the way, not at the Herald!). After all, I’ve been an employee longer than that bare-bottomed newcomer has been alive.

If you are one of these young supervisors who wants to get along better with your team, then simply be honest with yourself when looking in the mirror. Ask yourself why your team doesn’t respect you. Do you listen? Do you ask them questions? Are you knowledgeable about their job? Do you know anything about some of the individuals on your team? Are you being respectful through their view/lens?

We can probably all agree that respect is earned. It’s earned through knowledge; it’s earned through actions and words. In this day and age, it’s more important than ever to get a grip on respect and what that means. Earning respect, becoming knowledgeable and building relations takes time. More importantly, it takes practice, every day. Not everyone is cut out to be a supervisor, lie the movie line: “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”

One piece of advice I’d like to share, if you are one of many who has a supervisor that is less than deserving in your eyes, remember, everything is temporary. If you don’t like something or someone, try to tend to yourself in the meantime because it won’t last forever. On the other hand, if you do like something or someone, enjoy the heck out of it because that too, I’m afraid, is temporary.

Here’s a few quips from all generations. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.

  • In the words of the Baby Boomer: “I’ve attached a recipe for the nice girl.”
  • Generation X says “What comes around, goes around.”
  • Gen-Y tweets, “We need to change what respect means.”
  • Millennials are offended that nobody respects them yet.

Lorna Ross has been a correspondent for the Pierce County Herald since 2015.