Respect and Trust Go Hand In Hand
When I think back to all of the people who made a positive difference in my life, the one thing they all had in common was trust: trust in me.
One of my very first jobs after I graduated from college was as a temp for a boutique market research firm in Boston called Wallace & Washburn. The company is still going strong, and headed up by a terrific guy named Kim Wallace. He may not know it, but Kim made a real positive difference in my early development as a business consultant.
Why? Because Kim trusted me. You see, when he met me, I was just an arrogant young guy fresh out of theater school who thought he knew everything. Kim saw through my attitude and gave me a chance; he trusted me to help him with his work, not just file papers or organize the office, but to thoroughly analyze and comment on the raw data that was coming in as a result of his market research studies. Kim introduced me to the science of market research and trusted me enough to listen to my interpretations of his research. That felt pretty cool.
For me, Kim Wallace’s trust in me was a real validation of my worth as a person – a sign of respect – from someone who was already pretty successful. Kim didn’t have to respect me, but he did, and that made an enormous difference in my development as a professional. It made me feel trusted, and as a result, I worked even harder for Kim than I had for anyone in my young life at the time.
I think Kim Wallace knew exactly what he was doing back then; he knew what I know now: that when you treat an employee with respect, then they feel trusted and that feeling will drive them to work even harder for you. That’s why respect and trust go hand in hand.