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Five Words That Give You Power
Hershey Wier Over the years I've stopped patronizing certain businesses even though the services they provided were just fine.

There was the internal medicine specialist who came recommended by my general practitioner. And, oh, yes, there was a talented hair stylist who knew how to cut my hair just right.

As I said, it wasn't their services that was the problem, it was their manners - or lack thereof. Not toward me, but to the assistants who helped them. Arrogant... rude... downright mean - I wondered how those assistants could stand to work under those circumstances. Interesting that the boarishness switched to sweetness when they spoke to me, their customer.

Where I'm currently living here in Japan, the degree of formality, tone and general respectfulness one uses to speak to another depends on the person's status in society and her/his relationship to you. There is a pecking order that permeates every fold of society, including family units. It is common, for example, for customers to make requests of restaurant/store staff in a rough manner, and then ignore the staff when the request is granted, all without even a smile, eye contact or a "thank you". Society here condones this because status dictates the language and degree of respect one gives. Simply being another human being doesn't count.

However, you don't need to visit Japan in order to witness rude behavior. There's no shortage of it in this world. What is it about barking out orders that is so appealing? Whatever happened to "Would you please..." and "Thank you." Some think that to offer such politeness is a sign of weakness, a time waster: Nope - no time to utter five extra syllables - we've got work to do! Or, is the real reason a need to demonstrate power? To exercise the ego? To see how rude one can get before customers walk away and staff quit. Now *there's* a waste of time.

The people to whom I'm more likely to give respect - are people who show respect to others regardless of their status. If, for example, a boss is a loud, offensive barker - I doubt that the respect she/he is trying to generate is of much value. In organizational behavior terms, there is something called "formal authority" present there, but it is *informal* authority that rules hearts and minds. One should be able to motivate on both a formal and informal level - meaning that the staff are truly motivated to be cooperative, not coerced into it.

Let's try it everyone - mouth the words: "Would you please..." "Thank you." By showing respect to others, you generate respect for yourself.


Hershey Wier, MBA, speaks, writes and coaches on personal and professional development.

She founded ANEWIST Personal & Professional Development Services in order to offer fresh insight, guidance and support to people in achieving more fulfillment in their life path. Her unique blend of creative techniques and down-to-earth principles gives a balanced, enjoyable approach to creating synergistic, positive outcomes in life.

� Hershey Wier
Hershey Wier