We all want to be respected, it’s a given, especially in business. There are those who will say that they “demand” respect; but the truth is if respect isn’t given freely, then it’s not respect. It may even appear that they are being respected, but chances are it’s one of a number of other things; courtesy, obedience, deference… If it’s not genuine, and elicited because of their belief in your ability to lead others or to run your business, then it’s not respect.
So how do we earn the respect of others? We know that demanding it and waving a title or qualification as a reason we deserve respect doesn’t work. It will never work. People show respect because they have trust in your capabilities and your personal characteristics. Building that trust doesn’t just happen, it takes time.
How do we build trust and earn respect? The following tips will help.
1. Know your subject
It is easy to respect someone who has earned the right to their opinion. For example, if you are going to give a presentation, learn your topic inside out and be fully prepared. It is difficult to respect someone who hasn’t prepared properly and they are giving advice or opinions that are clearly incorrect or ill informed. Update your qualifications and industry knowledge. Know your stuff!
2. Have integrity
By definition, “integrity” means “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” When others know what you stand for, and they believe they can trust you and what you say, respect will soon follow.
3. Show authenticity
It’s difficult to respect someone when we don’t know them. An authentic leader is one who is comfortable in their own skin, warts and all. People who work with authentic leaders do not wonder who they will be dealing with today. There is no ‘persona’ to suit the leadership role.
4. Be vulnerable
We all make mistakes, we all have fears and concerns. It doesn’t hurt to show them to others and it will go a long way in building trust with your team. They will also be more comfortable in showing their vulnerabilities and owning their mistakes. Being vulnerable is a great team builder.
5. Hold yourself accountable
We all make mistakes, it’s inevitable. When you do make a mistake own it. Let your team know that you have made a mistake and what solution you have in mind to deal with it. Shifting blame to others is a sure fire way to fail in getting the respect of others.
6. Show empathy
You can be a strong leader and still show kindness and understanding to others. It’s not difficult to put yourself in another’s shoes, even when you disagree with them or you are giving negative feedback. Empathy will go a long way in building strong communication skills and mutual respect.
7. Believe in yourself
If you don’t have respect for yourself, chances are, others won’t either. If you have great experience or the qualifications, or awards, let others know. Don’t play small or second guess yourself. Have confidence in your abilities and your opinions. Avoid littering your sentences with words such as “do you think?”, “I’m not sure if this would work.” You are placing doubt in the mind of the listener before you have begun.