In the current political climate in the United States (and elsewhere, for that matter), it’s fashionable to place the blame for perceived problems on the other guys, the people who feel differently from you. Name-calling and lack of respect is rampant in the comments sections of blogs, on political talk shows, and among our politicians.

It’s similar to how, when you’re driving, anyone who drives faster than you is a maniac and anyone drives slower than you is a moron.

Here’s the problem. When we engage in name-calling, we’re showing a lack of respect in our behavior. We’re criticizing the other person’s character and personality. If I were to call you a moron, for example, you’re not likely to be open to hearing my point-of-view and vice-versa. I don’t take well to being called names. Do you? And really, what good does it do?

We Can Choose to Model Respect

Here’s the thing. If we want to be treated with respect by other people, we must model that behavior ourselves. We set the standard for how others will treat us by the way we carry ourselves and treat other people.

Some people say they don’t care what others think or say, but it’s difficult to work together to solve problems when you can’t collaborate with people who feel differently from you.

Some people treat others disrespecfully no matter what. Those people fail to realize, or don’t care, that their disrespectful behavior is a reflection on them and no one else.

Agreement is not necessary, nor always desirable. Working together with diverse groups of people, however, is a method of creating innovative, effective, and lasting solutions.

Civil discourse is a sign of a higher level of consciousness, greater emotional intelligence, and deeper thoughtfulness.

We’re IT people. We touch every aspect of society. Because of that, we’re in the unique position to model civilized, respectful behavior for the rest of the world. Make sure, in your dealings with your end users and other customers, your colleagues, your bosses, and everyone else, that you set the standard for being a friendly, courteous, civilized professional.

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