Respect. Most everybody wants it, but very few people want to earn it. The problem is, respect is earned not gifted.
My many years of leading, directing, and managing people has taught me a lot about dealing with people. This doesn’t mean that I’ve reached an end all and am the omega of dealing with others. I’m certainly far from that. I have, however, gone from the guy who wanted respect to the person who’d earn it. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Respect: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. (courtesy of Google)
Funny thing. If you’re not admirable, don’t display abilities (or good ones), don’t display positive qualities, and have no achievements, why do you deserve respect? Or, especially worse, are the people who flaunt their own achievements and qualities (especially when they don’t equate to much).
A handful of leaders I’ve managed have had the following complaint for me: “They don’t respect me, I don’t know what to do.” Sometimes I’ll hear things like, “I just want them to respect me.” That’s great and all, but I also learned that some people say respect but mean fear. There is a distinct difference between the two. The people who are afraid of you might do something because they are, well, afraid of what would happen if they didn’t. People who respect you do something because they have an admiration for you and what you do, realizing they are a part of the bigger picture with you.
You won’t just wake up one day and be respected. It usually takes a while to earn and can be lost quickly. So, what can we do to earn more?
Communicate: Openly, honestly, and clearly.
Be honest: Be as transparent as you can, and don’t lie. A lot of people will know just when you’re lying anyways.
Don’t be “too good”: I make it a habit to never ask a person to do something that I haven’t or wouldn’t do myself. This fosters an environment where people appreciate you a lot. Getting down and dirty with people shows that you are not above them.
Be reasonable: I like to call it tough but fair. Different situations call for different actions. Be consistent and fair.
Be appreciative: Show respect and honest, sincere appreciation for the people around you.
Those are just a few tips on earning the respect of others. Don’t expect results overnight. Do the right things every single day, and one day your eyes will open up to the fact that you’re surrounded by greatness.