Unless you are self-sufficient and live by yourself on an island, you need to serve others and you need to be served by others. This is true no matter if you are a waiter, carpenter, blogger or king.
Most people tend to treat their superiors with respect. If not for other reasons, but because they depend on making at least a decent impression on their boss and clients to keep their jobs.
Unfortunately, this is not always true when the roles are reversed. Many people treat their inferiors – people they manage, suppliers, waitresses and store clerks very differently from how they treat their superiors.
This behaviour tells one very important thing about them. They don’t care about other people. At least not enough to treat them with basic human decency. They only care about themselves.
They only treat people well when they have something to gain. Not because it’s the right thing to do.
While it’s impossible to stay away from such people, you need to keep them at a distance and they can’t be trusted. They will only treat you well as long as they think that they have something to gain from it. As soon as they don’t, they will treat you the same way they threat that waitress when the food arrives late.
On the contrary, a gentleman treats everyone with respect because he believes that everyone deserve it.
A gentleman is one who treats his inferiors with the greatest courtesy, justice and consideration, and who exacts the same treatment from his superiors.New York Daily News, 1902.
Remember that words such as superior, inferior or equal are social constructs, and that they only apply to certain situations or contexts. You might be someone’s boss, but that only means that you are suporior to him in your current proffessional relationship. It doesn’t say anything about who is more superior or inferior in other contexts or what your future relation might be.
With this in mind, it’s easy to realize that you shouldn’t take out your frustrations on a waitress because she mixed up your order any more than you should take out your frustrations on your boss if he tells you last minute that you to do something you don’t want to do.
Put yourself in their shoes
Let’s say you’re in a restaurant and something goes wrong with the order. You don’t know what went wrong. It might not have been the waitresses fault. Or it could have been, but you don’t know why she messed it up.
She could be incompetent. If so, it’s probably because she is new. Shw could also be having a bad day. Maybe she didn’t get enough sleep. She might have worked late last night and worked a second job in the morning.
You have no idea.
Either way, you will neither benefit her nor yourself by throwing a hissy-fit. You will only make a fool out of yourself.
Just calmly and discreetly let her know about the situation and how you want it handled. If it was her fault, she will know and she will feel bad about it enough as it is, and no matter what, you will both keep your dignity intact.
Do the same with the people you manage, your suppliers and everyone else around you.
As a gentleman, you should never – in any circumstance – raise your voice at an inferior. It’s destructive and it just shows that you are not man enough to handle the situation.