Helmut shows respect by keeping to schedule. Baharat from Mumbei shows respect by answering calls from his clients immediately, even when he is running a meeting. Moshe from Israel shows respect by giving you as much time as needed, ignoring the “formal” schedule he is supposed to be following. Paco shows a huge respect for people, yet their time is not a valued resource for Paco, so his US colleague Paul feels a huge lack of respect.
Daw from Huahin Thailand gives respect by never inconveniencing people with whom he works. In public meetings, he is courteous and tends to be amicable to all suggested directions, reserving his disagreements for a private conversation. He sees the gap between what he allows himself to say in public and private as giving a huge amount of respect.
Mark from St Paul gives respect by separating between people and issues. He can deliver a critique of an idea, but he never is critical of a person; he is careful to remain civil. Mark sees in civility the ultimate manifestation of respect.
Ngai Lam from Hong Kong shows respect by always being in her “professional” persona, concealing much of her emotions, expression of which may be seen as showing lack of respect for the work place.
Hank from Holland as well as Moti from Israel show respect by being blunt so that no one needs to guess what their intention is, which would be disrespecting and uncaring.
Olive from Germany and Oya from Japan show respect by a very formal use of language when addressing people who merit respect.
So when we say that the need for respect is universal, what are we saying?
Actually nothing. The word “respect”, when spelt out and operationalized, means nothing in common across cultures.