The following is an excerpt from the "Communication Basics" podcast included in the purchase of a Developer Tune-Up, a newly released product designed to provide software developers with solid career advice grounded in real-world experience. You can read the origin story of the Developer Tune-Up, or watch a 1-minute video to learn how it works.
Respect is the cornerstone of communication. If you don't respect the person you're talking to, nothing else is going to matter. You would think that everyone would respect everyone automatically, but that's not real life. In real life, different people view respect differently based on things like their upbringing, their culture, and their age. In order for us all to work together seamlessly, however, we all have to respect each other in exactly the same way. We can't have some people who automatically respect everyone they meet, and then have other people only respect the people they choose to respect and then think everything's going to be okay. When it comes to communication, everyone has to respect everyone. Now the question is: how do we do that?
Like all things in life, the only person you can really control is you. Further, you can't walk around and demand that people respect you. That will get exactly the opposite effect. You will come across as being childish or having low self-confidence. Can you imagine how absurd it is to walk around the office and say, “Hey, just wanted to remind you, you need to respect me”?
When it comes to controlling yourself your attitude should be, “I want to earn people's respect,” and there are lots of things you do in order to make that happen. You want to make sure that you are professional, both in your appearance as well as with your mannerisms. You want to make sure that you are dependable. You want to make sure that you have integrity. These are the things that will earn people's respect no matter who they are. These are laudable characteristics of human beings. If you walk into the office and you are polite to people, if you say good morning, you shake the hand of someone you've just met and say, “Hello, nice to meet you;” You say, “Please” and “Thank you.” This will earn other people's respect.
Now, if you're hearing this and saying, “Well, that's not right - people should respect me out of the box,” the fact is in the real world – honestly– that really doesn't happen. In the real world, everyone views everyone else with skepticism. But, what you can do is control your own actions. You can control your part in how people perceive you. That's important to remember: Control yourself and have the mindset of “I want to earn other people's respect.”
When it comes to respecting other people, this is where you might have to do a lot of work on yourself. It is so easy to judge someone just by looking at them or hearing them talk for maybe one meeting or working with them for a couple of weeks and then say, “You know what? This person isn't deserving of my respect.” You've got to stop doing that. I really don't care how gifted, smart, intelligent, beautiful, strong, fast - whatever your personal characteristics are, no matter how incredible they are, it never justifies you looking down on someone else and saying, “I'm better than them.”
To try The Developer Tune-Up:
- Take the free quiz to test your knowledge of software developer career concepts and to generate your "Developer Scorecard."
- The free version of your Developer Scorecard has the results of the first three sections unlocked and includes three free career advice podcasts totaling around 1-hour of content.
- If you like the advice given in the free podcasts, you can choose to unlock the full version of your Developer Scorecard for $29.99. This will grant you access to all 42 career advice podcasts totaling 13 hours of content covering 126 topics.