Respect is not free; you need to earn it. Don’t expect respect to seek you out; it won’t. It does not matter your title, your role, your experience, your history — nothing matters.
We are all familiar with the “golden rule” — do unto other as you would have them do unto you. Start here to earn respect. This is what earning respect is all about.
Don’t wait for someone to give you respect before you show them respect. Be prepared to give respect, even in the face of not getting it. This is the tough part as you begin the journey of earning respect. Treat others as you want them to treat you. It won’t happen right away; it takes time. However, it is the best way to earn respect.
One common mistake made is to feel entitled to respect because of your role or title. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You might be deferred to based on your job title or position, especially if there is a belief that the giving of deference will give a positive outcome or is a way to avoid harm. Neither being good reasons and neither representing true respect.
As human resource professionals, we want true respect. Knowing respect, is not free, we must earn it. We must pay for it. We must invest ourselves in others in order to set the foundation for that earning.
John C. Maxwell, a well-known leadership author shares with us from his book “The 360° Leader” that you can achieve the outcome you seek if you “model the behavior you desire”. This means we must invest our self by way of our behavior. Our behavior of respect must be visible, truthful, sincere and consistent. In return, we will gain the respect of others.
Maxwell writes, “If you desire to instill a particular value into your organization’s culture, then you need to ask yourself whether it is an identifiable behavior among the people of your organization — starting with yourself. And the only way to change the culture is to change your behavior.”
Start with these five simple ways to get respect going in your professional life:
1. Don’t put yourself down. Speak positively, with confidence. Be prepared. When faced with challenging situations, participate, accept outcomes (positive or negative). Don’t make self-deprecating comments about yourself (or others). Manage yourself up. Do this without sounding like a braggart. “I can help you with that. I have worked on many similar projects that have all been successful.”
2. Don’t place blame on others. In business, not all things go well, or as planned. This is to be expected, however, this does not mean your organization will be happy. Accept the outcome. Seek causes and reasons for outcomes and proactively speak to remediation or action steps to take. Don’t blame others for things that don’t turn out as planned. “That was my decision, and I am responsible for the delay; this is what we can do to recover.”
3. Help others look good. Look for ways to compliment others. Focus on public and private recognition. Call out colleagues by name and thank them. Thank your staff. Use thank you notes. Manage others up. Take personal responsibility when things get difficult; share the rewards when things go well and desired outcomes are achieved. “Thank you Bob for all your excellent work; Bob’s expertise was instrumental in making phase one successful, he will lead phase two. I have confidence in Bob and the prospects for phase two.”
4. Listen first, listen more, then speak (ask questions). Listen and listen some more. As questions to get to the insights that are important to your customers, your leaders, your staff, those from the community. Use active listening. This is not easy. It requires that you really pay attention to what the other person is saying. “Please tell me more. What else do I need to know in order to better understand your needs?”
5. Get input. Get input from others. Make a point of asking others for their point of view. Be honest when doing this. Use input from others as appropriate in your plans and programs. This is a clear way to demonstrate your value and respect others. Validate that the work you are doing will meet the needs of your customer; will add value that they find important. “I think your input on this project is important to our success; this is what we have so far. Does this look as though it will meet your needs?”
These are five simple ways to begin and foster the on-going process of earning respect.
Fostering respect is an excellent cultural value to go after. It does not matter what your market sector is. Giving and developing respect will ultimately make your job easier, allow for improved service and greater acceptance of what you and your co-workers in human resources implement.
Using strategies like this can be a change, depending on why in routinely natural to you at the current time. This personal change takes commitment and investment. Don’t worry about being perfect; just practice when opportunities present themselves.
Respect is not free. Others will not freely give true respect unless it has been earned. Don’t expect respect if you don’t give respect.
6. Bonus Tip: Go and visit. This one is so simple, yet at times so hard to do. Get out of your office. Go and visit your key customers. If they are not in, leave a short note. If they are in, let them know you are just stopping by to check in. Is there anything they need or that you can do for them?
I assume that basics like being ethical, keeping your word, doing what you say you are going to do, being honest, participating and being a team player are all part of your core leadership competencies.
What are the daily things that detract from you being respectful on a daily basis? If you say “nothing” then think again. We are all faced with that which detracts; identify it and then knock it out. Use the strategies noted above eliminate that which detracts and to build the respect from others you deserve.
Are you willing to be confident and not put yourself down?
Are you willing to not blame others?
Are you willing to help others look good?
Are you willing to listen first, before you speak?
Are you willing to take time to understand your customers?
Are you willing to get out of your office and visit your customers?
What level of investment are you willing to make in order to earn respect? What does this mean for you? What specific behaviors can you and will you begin to engage in or continue to engage in?