Character Quality - Deference - from A Book in Time

Published on 18 December 2022 at 07:48

Be Deferent


39 - Deference

There are times when a leader should be ready and willing to yield to the wishes of others so long as no harm is caused or values compromised in the process. This is a trait that can easily be squashed by pride. It is putting others before you and submitting to their judgment or preference out of reverence or respect, thereby limiting yourself somehow. You are postponing your actions or choices and allowing someone else to select, potentially making them feel special or important. It is a selfless act that takes tremendous confidence and courage to enact.  t involves an intentional decision to show respect and defer your actions or decisions until later. You never know what this selfless act may inspire. Perhaps the other person may open up to your viewpoint or at least acquiesce to openness for sharing ideas. Deference is a strategically beneficial quality that may even bring about an energizing unification. It takes practice to develop this quality and perhaps even transition it into a habit or skill, but it is well worth the effort.


Characteristics of Deference:

  • Selflessness.  It is a selfless act to consider others before yourself. While denying yourself necessities is unnecessary, deferring preference to someone else is still a sacrificial act of love and respect. You may not agree with the other person's point of view or choices, yet you can still give of yourself and release the opportunity to choose for another person.
  • Courage.  A tremendous amount of courage is displayed as you give deference to someone else. As you may risk backlash or adversity from less cultured or uncivilized people who do not understand a selfless act, it takes sheer bravery to set your own opportunity and perhaps right to take precedence aside and share that right with someone else. Have a clear understanding and knowledge of your own belief system so your values are not compromised in the process. There is a way to respect others even if you disagree with what they say. This is where you display valor by showing love to the person, despite the content. More of this is needed in the world. Love each other, and show respect towards each other. You do not have to agree with their viewpoint, but it is important to value and preserve the relationship if possible.
  • Respect.  The entire premise behind deference is respect for others. Respect is an important and vital quality for every leader to embrace. This includes your professional, personal, and spiritual life. Respect does not imply agreement but rather regard or recognition for another person. You should display love and acknowledgment of others and understand they are important.  Learn how to live in conjunction with them, and perhaps even be able to learn from each other and consider another method or idea. Be open-minded, kind, and considerate, and allow yourself to be tolerant and willing to entertain something new.
  • Confidence.  Confidence is needed and shown as you defer preference to other people. You are confident in yourself and what you stand for. You understand that what you have built, from your own belief system to the visions of your business, will not be swayed by showing deference to another person. Remain confident in who you are and what you stand for. Bravely submit opportunities to others to share their opinions and utilize their ideas, knowing you are firm and unwavering in your values and a simple opinion of another will not bring down you or your business. Show confidence in others that you trust them to be respectful back to you. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and be confident that you have developed the right skills to handle and address any circumstances that may follow. You are prepared, confident, and secure.
  • Submission.  To defer to someone else is to submit to them. You humble yourself and give preference to another person. This is a courageous and selfless act, as you cannot control someone else's actions. Yet it is a powerful act to submit to others intentionally. You bravely decide to do the right thing and are willing to accept the outcome. You have established yourself as a respectable and responsible person and are brave and obedient to defer to someone else, allowing them to feel appreciated and heard. You let them share in a process. You show faith in yourself and others to make good choices and decisions.
  • Tolerance.   In showing deference, you are showing the capacity to endure something that you may disagree with or even find unfavorable, yet you do not complain. You have the strength to "tolerate" the differences and allow another person’s view or stance to be expressed. It takes great strength to endure without complaining or passing your own judgment. You do not have to agree, but it still may require strength to allow the opportunity and remain nonjudgmental.
  • Patience.  Patience will be required to accept a situation you may find unfavorable or disagree with. You remain gentle and self-controlled and calmly endure as long as your values are not compromised. Be secure in your beliefs and the mission of your business so you can remain confident while allowing someone else the ability to experience preference. Patiently wait for a future time to embrace your chance or even just be willing to calmly accept the situation and be deferent until the expression of another has ceased.


Great men always pay deference to greater.” Walter Savage Landor


I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” 

William Penn


Truth cannot be sacrificed at the altar of pretended tolerance. Real tolerance is deference to all ideas, not indifference to the truth.”  Ravi Zacharias


If we wish our civilization to survive we must break with the habit of deference to great men.” Karl Popper


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