Respect is an interesting thing.

I just ran across a speech I jotted down when a friend of mine thought he was being fired years ago. He was working in a restaurant, and had been for 15 years when the owners suddenly began acting strangely to him. One owner would ask him to make a change, and then another owner would arrive and ask him to change it back. Then the first would show up again and yell at him. Then the second would send a nasty email demanding the original change. Then the first sent an email threatening to change my friend’s hours, and this went on and on to the point where he really began to fear for his job.

Now, fear does strange things to people. For some, it makes them cower. For others, it makes them hard. And to my friend? Well, he found his center line, and he walked it.

Here’s the speech I found, written on a napkin:

He stuck to his guns. “You want to change the soup, change the soup,” he said. “I don’t need a meeting for that. But if you want to change my hours, my life, I need more than three days’ notice and I need you to tell me in person.”

photoPeople are people, after all. My friend brought the bureaucracy to a halt by showing more respect for people than for position. We show and gain respect all the time—and we should. But respect and “kid gloves” are two very different things, indeed.

Cut to the chase today. And do it out of respect.

My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is available on Amazon.