When you’re in a leadership position, it is imperative that the people with whom you work respect you but respect is never a given. It must always be earned. Your team might respect your work habits, your intelligence or your ability to close a deal but there’s more to respect than that.
If you can earn their respect as a person, then you’ve really won the game. Here are some tips that can help you earn more respect.
1. Be kind.
Always be polite to everyone you meet during the day, from your spouse and children to your co-workers, to the checkout person at the grocery store. I know, this is easier said than done, especially when you’re having a bad day. But if you would want to be treated respectfully; so does everyone else. Give others the same respect you’d like to receive yourself. Seek out actions you can take to offer politeness. Open the door at the coffee shop for the person behind you, or let the person with one item go ahead of you in the grocery store. Smile and say please and thank you whenever possible.
2. Act respectfully.
Eliminate non-respectful behaviors such as rolling your eyes, concentrating more on your cell phone, or talking over someone. Not only are these actions disrespectful of the person you’re interacting with, they deter or prevent further involvement or resolution of issues, and create a wedge that can become permanent. Instead, foster an environment of respectful listening. Everyone deserves to be heard, even if you don’t agree always with one’s ideas or opinions. Consider how you’d like to be treated if you have something to say, especially if there is an issue at hand.
3. Listen well.
Listening is an active process, not a passive one. Actively listen by taking your own opinions and thoughts out of your mind, and actually hear what the other person is trying to convey. Most often in today’s conversations, one person’s comments “trigger” thoughts in the listener, who then brings forth their own story along the same lines. Instead of telling your tale, ask questions that encourage the speaker to tell you more. When you practice effective listening skills, you will make others feel important and validated.
4. Be useful.
People earn respect by always being ready to lend a hand or an ear whenever they’re needed or notice an opportunity to help. Look for opportunities to help that you might have previously overlooked. Take responsibility and do things without waiting for someone to ask for assistance. See how many times you can be helpful in a day.
5. Don’t make excuses.
Your actions are based on your choices, and barring some unforeseen circumstance, there is no reason for excuses. Own your actions. If you’re late, it’s probably because you did not manage your time effectively. If you didn’t finish a job, it’s most likely that you didn’t focus on the task at hand or you got caught up doing unnecessary tasks. Own up to your mistakes and instead of dwelling on them, look for opportunities to move past them and commit to doing better.
6. Let go of anger.
Holding on to anger or a grudge doesn’t hurt anyone but yourself. Allow yourself to be angry momentarily, then move beyond it to either rectify the situation or put it behind you. It doesn’t help to dwell on a situation. Not to mention, the stress will cause anxiety and maybe even cause health problems. No one is perfect and everyone screws up from time to time. Allow others, and yourself, to gracefully recover and focus on a positive new target. Forgive, and then forget.
7. Be willing to change.
Being stubborn won’t get you anywhere. Realize that the process of evolution includes change. Make an effort to grow as a person; learn new skills, try new activities, and especially, re-examine your automatic behaviors. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself on progress you make along the way to becoming a better person.