First, you have to recognise what respect looks like. Like so many things, the easiest place to start is with yourself…
Hint, it’s not rolling out of bed with a hangover, forgetting to shower, shave or wash your hair. You know that, I know that, everyone knows that and sometimes the guests can smell that.
You make your own worth when you decide what time you will wake up. Is it too late to iron the shirt? Too late to get to the gym first, play with your kids or that walk with your friends so you feel like you can balance work and life and still have a fresh head. If it is, then you’re disrespecting yourself and you haven’t even got to work
When you get to your workplace who shows you the love? Does your team look thrilled to see you? Are the rest of the crew excited about what knowledge, experience and fun you will bring? Or do they, at best, raise an eyebrow then just get on with what they were doing. This is not unique to hospitality, and it’s the same in any industry.
I’ve heard grumbles from staff who say they aren’t getting enough respect; I’m sure I’ve said it myself at some points in my career. You feel nobody appreciates what you do, you don’t have the floor for your ideas or contributions, you walk in and the first comment isn’t a welcome, it’s an order. It sucks, and it usually means you don't want to stay there at all. Here's the thing. It's all your fault. No, really, it is. But the good news is, you can change it with tiny, easy steps. Ask yourself every day: How am I showing up now? How do I want to show up?
One example is how you get dressed, the more presentable you look the more people will accept you. It’s not about looking a certain way, be yourself, be unique but be fresh. It's also not about speaking a certain way or being a robot, it’s about breaking down boundaries between you and others. If I've saved up, dressed up and got organised enough to go out to a restaurant with my loved ones I want the person looking after me to respect the effort I've made by at least reflecting a bit of that
You’re not approachable when you’re fighting a hangover, and they are ugly! If you've not had enough sleep, you are more likely to be irritable. If you don't know exactly what is on the menu you're likely to be embarrassed that you can’t answer all the questions with grace and ease, then you feel defensive. You hate that, right?
Managers, Chefs, owners and those key staff who seem to glide through the day and nights know you can’t demand respect. They earn it with every smile they give, every time they help their colleagues or educate themselves and others. Through years of graft, late nights, putting in the sweat at the right times but also enjoying the good times and respecting those around them. They love it, right?
Respect means getting great tips from customers you love, or that raise from the boss because they see you shine. Respect means learning and honing your craft so that others in the industry recognise you for what you know and do. Respect is loving every day because you get to do what makes you happy. That’s what self-respect looks like.
You can do it, raise your game, show up willing, learn more, do more, be more. You can’t demand respect if you’re not giving it to yourself. You can ask the universe for it when you know you’re putting it all in, you'll see it will respond with fortune, success and happiness.
Sing it… R.E.S.P.E.C.T.