Respect

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Janet Rossini
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Respect

Post by Janet Rossini » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:10 pm

Note to the reader: The idea in this article is very important to me. Public personal attacks on individuals are never respectful. The personal attacks below,in response to this article, are examples of the exact opposite of what I'm talking about. I am sorry that this thread, which I offered in hope and peace, has been hijacked to a foul purpose. I've decided to leave my remarks here intact and recommend that readers stop at the end of this article. Thank you.

In 21st century software development thinking, one of the key notions is one of the "retrospective", a meeting where the team looks back over a period of time to see how to improve what it has been doing. The "father" of the retrospective idea, a man named Norm Kerth, formulated what he called the Prime Directive:
Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.
Sometimes I find it hard to remember this directive, because, after all, when I look back at my own work, I don't really want to say that it was the best I was capable of. I believe that I am capable of more and better, and it's important to me to believe that.

At the same time, the results I get are obviously the results of the choices I make, and I do in fact make the best choices I can ... so in that sense ... I always do the best I can, given all those things in Mr Kerth's directive.

My topic here is respect. We may not agree on all things: it would be boring if we did. We may even disagree very strongly, on matters based on very different principles we hold dear. (This happens far less often than people think, I find.)

When I'm in a conversation where there is disagreement, I try always to speak with respect. You'll notice that I will use the word "you" very rarely in such a discussion, trying always to talk about the issues and not about the person. I do this for two reasons, both of which I offer you for your consideration. (I'd number the list but if numbering works on this forum I've not figured it out.)

First, I really do believe that people here are trying to do the right thing, whether they are discussing policy or whether I'm trying to explain to them that we can't use guns in NCI locations. Well, I don't actually believe that with every random griefer, but let's say that I work from that assumption.

Second, I find that I'm much more likely to get what I need if I treat the other person respectfully, rather than attacking them or even speaking in a condescending manner.

With the exception of the occasional griefer, I don't spend much time dealing with people who aren't clearly worthy of respect. Certainly all the people here are, even those I may disagree with quite strongly. But even when feelings are intense, we all have an essential common condition, humanity, and I prefer to start from a feeling that I am, in that sense, "one" with that person. From that essential one-ness, mutual benefit may come.

I mention it here as an essential tool in dealing with each other, and, more to my current point, to dealing with our clientele, the SL citizens. It's kind of the opposite of the "Don't be a jerk" rule. We should try always to be respectful of the people we're interacting with, even when we are not able to agree.

Elsewhere I posted an example of how to deal with a nude person on our land, and how not to. The essential difference is one of respect. It is entirely possible to decide respectfully to ban someone. And it is entirely possible to "help" them disrespectfully. Only one of those is right.

For us, for NCI, respect is the only way. We may all slip up. We must never forget.
Last edited by Janet Rossini on Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Trinity Coulter
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Re: Respect

Post by Trinity Coulter » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:22 pm

I had what I hoped you would see was a valid point on respect.
Last edited by Trinity Coulter on Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Trinity Coulter
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Re: Respect

Post by Trinity Coulter » Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:30 am

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Last edited by Trinity Coulter on Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Lethe
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Re: Respect

Post by Lethe » Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:26 am

I tend to agree with this thread both personally and for the organization as a whole. NCI really profits when everyone buys into a culture of respect. In the case of our staff, I really feel that respect translates into a culture of help first and punish as a last resort. If you start assuming everyone can be helped, even the guy with the crazy griefer slider settings, I think you never stop being surprised by how often things work out.

Trinity Coulter
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Re: Respect

Post by Trinity Coulter » Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:33 am

Thank you Lethe for a perfect example of what I meant. A threat and calling it unpleasant without even addressing the issues surrounding respect.

As as far as help first and punish as a last resort, I couldn't agree more. That's exactly the approach I have tried to take in bringing things up.

I wish for once instead of resorting to attacking the messenger, you might actually think about what those messengers are saying and reply to that message.

Janet Rossini
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Re: Respect

Post by Janet Rossini » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:47 am

I can only say that I am very disappointed to see a thread in which I recommend respect as a very important aspect of our lives turned into such a torrent of disrespect. It saddens me.
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Trinity Coulter
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Re: Respect

Post by Trinity Coulter » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:58 am

Then let me reply with something that is not my own words, and hopefully conveys the points better.
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In a class on negotiations and the impact of power, two students in a mock group negotiation exercise willingly walked out of a profitable deal just so that a stronger member of the group could be taught a lesson and be left with nothing. When asked in the debriefing session as to the reason, the response that came was that the man in power was asserting his authority over the less powerful groups and constantly showed an arrogant attitude. The lack of respect given was enough for them to accept losses, provided that the student with power lost face in front of others.

Another group in the same class walked in with extremely different results. The outcome was more equally distributed. In this case, the person in power was asked for the reason. His reasoning was: ‘I know I have power; but I don’t need to show it. I have to build relationships with these other players, so it is important I treat them with respect. For it is these small relationships that will help me in the future.’

What is Respect?

Every human being and nation, irrespective of their power or strength, has the right to be respected. “Respect is an unassuming resounding force, the stuff that equity and justice are made of.” It means being treated with consideration and esteem and to be willing to treat people similarly.. It means to have a regard for other peoples’ feelings, listening to people and hearing them, i.e. giving them one’s full attention. Even more importantly, respect means treating one with dignity. Respect is the opposite of humiliation and contempt. So where the latter can be a cause of conflict, the former and its opposite can help transform it. As William Ury writes in his book The Third Side: “Human beings have a host of emotional needs- for love and recognition, for belonging and identity, for purpose and meaning to lives. If all these needs had to be subsumed in one word, it might be respect”.

Importance of Respect in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation

Respect is the first positive step in building a relationship and relationships are central to conflict transformation. One does not have to like a person or understand his viewpoint to accord him respect. Respect comes with the belief that a person or culture can have beliefs contradictory to ours and we should still honor them, as basic respect is a fundamental right of all human beings. In addition, goals and concessions become easier to attain when the element of respect is present As Bill Richardson, the US permanent representative to the UN put it. “You have to be a human being. You cannot be arrogant..... If you treat each individual with respect, each nation with dignity, you can get a lot further than trying to muscle them”

A case example is that of John Kamm, the founder of Dui Hua Foundation. Kamm has been successful in persuading the Chinese government to release political prisoners, when many others have failed. He has found that approaching the Chinese “with dignity and respect facilitated their response to his inquiries and uncovered a wealth of information regarding the status and well being of thousands of political prisoners.”

Peacebuilding and conflict transformation strongly emphasize the human relationship aspect. Therefore, for peacebuilding to succeed, the element of respect is essential.

Respect plays an important role in a number of ways.

1. Respect allows one to build trust with “the other.”
2. Respect allows one to build and rebuild relationships.
3. It provides one with “an entry,” into the other side
4. Those who are respected within the community are most likely to be able to bring or encourage peace.
5. In addition, according respect can make the key difference in the direction of the conflict.
6. Its presence can lead to a positive change, whilst its absence may lead to even more destruction.

The presence of respect can therefore create opportunities. It is then up to the peace builder to act upon them.

Thus, for a peacebuilder, it is important to look at respect from different angles. First is the importance of treating parties to a conflict with civility and honor. Once people are accorded respect, they are more willing to make compromises which are long term and sustainable, rather than those that are made under duress. Second, peacebuilders and “outsider neutral” mediators need to look for links within the conflicted society and community that have the respect of the people, such as professors, elders, religious leaders etc.Through these people, the mediators and peacebuilders can build networks and contacts. And through their help, peacebuilders and mediators can begin to build rapport with the conflicting parties.

What Happens in the Absence of Respect?

Contempt and humiliation are the absence of respect, as are a sense of being unheard or not understood. The absence of respect or a perceived lack of respect often leads to conflict at an individual, family and societal level. Since the first key step to building strong relationships is respect, the absence of respect or the breakdown of respect are also key factors in the breakdown of relationships and in the occurrence of conflict. Relationships and contacts that are built without the presence of respect are seldom long term or sustainable.

Creating Respect

Respect is created in many ways.

1. It is created when people treat others as they want to be treated. This brings us to the famous quotation from the Bible. “Do unto others as you would others do unto you”. This also brings the element of circularity to it. That is, things are connected and in relationship. So the growth of something, such as respect, often nourishes itself from its own process and dynamics. Be the first to accord respect, and with time, it will develop amongst all the conflicting parties.
2. Avoid insulting people or their culture; instead try to understand them. Many disastrous interactions are characterized by attitudes such as arrogance, disdain, fear of difference, etc. To avoid this, it helps to contact people who are familiar with the unfamiliar culture and can give the peacebuilder guidelines of how to best adapt to the culture.
3. Be courteous. Listen to what others have to say. Treat people fairly. All the basic elements “that we learned in Kindergarten” will go a long way to creating an atmosphere of trust and respect.
4. Apart from the above, when already involved in a conflict, ‘separating the people from the problem’ also allows one to treat the other side with honor. Recognizing that the issue is the problem at hand and not the people can also help create respect.

Conclusion

Thus the presence of respect can help transform conflicts, by providing opportunities that did not exist before. At the same time, the absence of respect can lead to conflict. What makes men like Bill Richardson and John Kamm succeed in negotiations and dialogue where many other fail, especially in their dealings with cultures other than our own? What makes them different from others? Both cite respect to be their main secret. Recognize respect to be a basic human right, treat individuals and states with dignity, and you will receive a more sustainable response. The relationships so established will be based on mutual trust and respect, and hence is likely to last. In contrast, if you browbeat your enemies (or both sides if you are the mediator) then even though the goal may be attained, the relationship will be resentful, and backlash, more than stable peace is the more likely outcome.

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Loris Talon
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Re: Respect

Post by Loris Talon » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:26 am

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Last edited by Loris Talon on Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Trinity Coulter
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Re: Respect

Post by Trinity Coulter » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:40 am

On that note, Loris.... I spoke with Lethe directly, and she and I came to an understanding. Its a great example of how being willing to communicate can lead to more positive outcomes. I can only say that I do truly respect Lethe for being willing to talk and share her thoughts honestly with me, and letting me do the same. I would ask for you to let your objections to her post drop for the moment, and only ask that others can be willing to share the same thoughtful spirit that Lethe demonstrated to me.

Afon
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Re: Respect

Post by Afon » Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:19 pm

Respect cuts both ways. Just because someone dose not reply to your IM dose not mean they are ignoring you, it simply means they missed it. I've missed a few IMs in the past, and both Gramma and Carl missed some of mine. All the members of the BoD are busy these days, esp the Chairperson who is working hard in the background to ensure NCI remains viable (insert duck analogy). Often we (and I include myself) don't have the time for a long discussion about something. If you IM someone with 'Hi, I've an idea' and ten mins later you get 'er, hi, drop a notecard please', don't think 'wtf, rude b$%£h, I want to discuss this', think ,'opps, she's busy with something, I'll drop a notecard'.

I try my best to reply to all IMs, but I'll miss some. I also try to get back to folk who drop notecards onto me, but again I sometimes forget.
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