Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Words of Respect

As a general rule, if we talk to our clients like we talk to our boss we’ll have no communication problems at all.

This comes up periodically at TLC when clients complain about being “disrespected.”

When we get these kinds of complaints more than a few times we usually pull the manager into the corporate office. Then we suggest that he or she talk to the clients the same way they talk to us – their supervisors.

And if that doesn’t work we usually find ourselves looking for another manager.

Something each human desires, even the most uncooperative and problematic, is to be treated with dignity and respect. And for a manager to last at TLC that’s something he or she must practice.

I recently dealt with a client who was a constant problem. He was angry and fearful. The managers were over-reacting to his behavior. And, as a result, their communication with him broke down because of their frustration.

I talked with the client for awhile – all the time treating him with dignity and respect – even though his behavior didn’t merit it. Within days, he did a complete turnaround.

Sometimes a few simple words, delivered with respect, make all the difference.