How respecting others and yourself pays off.

One thing I've learned in the world of professional development is that things tend to be a lot less professional than I first imagined. One particular subject that routinely comes up is the way in which you are treated by your peers and superiors.

I've found that people tend to take liberties where they are allowed: read where they are not reprimanded for it. The repercussion of taking said liberties can come from your boss or from your peers or even the person you are taking said liberty upon. More often than not, however, I've seen liberties taken from above and this is where it becomes crucial to "stand your ground" a bit or be dreadfully walked all over.

When we are asked to do something from someone in a position of power over our own we feel compelled to comply do to this imbalance of power. I posit that this is not always the best way to go about things. Reason being represented in this scenario: if someone asks you to do something that they themselves might know to be asking a bit too much, then you proceed to do it anyway, you set a new precedent in the relationship that you are willing to do that smidgen above what they thought to be acceptable and now the new acceptable is this new precedent henceforth.

Instead I've found that when someone asks you to do something that is indeed above the call of duty, that you owe it to yourself and your superior in this case to make that fact apparent while simultaneously either offering a more acceptable alternative, or in the case that it simply must be done, you simply do it. This is of course under the guise of maintaining cohesion between you and your superior; that job is left to you.

Indeed I believe that this fosters a much better working relationship in that it accomplishes two primary goals. 1) You will continue to be represented fairly to your superior. 2) They should respect you more for dealing with a difficult situation in a responsible manner.

A final word of caution: Being a jerk is never acceptable, but being assertive is. Find the line of where one ends and the other begins and make sure not to cross it. The consequences of failing to observe this boundary can be very damaging and lasting. Some might argue in this day and age you would just give the finger to civil discourse. On the contrary, I find both parties leave better off when apt judgment and professionalism is observed.

In observing these recommendations, we can all do a better job of teaching those around us how we would like to be treated.