How to Gain Respect

Many people today seem focused on how to gain respect. Rodney Dangerfield made a career complaining that he got no respect. We constantly hear on the news how people feel "disrespected". But, when a person spends all his time being fully absorbed in how he can get respect; can he ever actually realize this goal?





The first step in how to get respect is understanding what is respect. Let's think for a moment about the qualities of a person that causes us to respect them. Pretty quickly, we see that it is not the self-absorption of seeking praise and recognition, which one might believe would lead to respect, but rather a far more selfless attitude.

So, how to gain respect ... Could it really be as simple as showing others respect? Just as the forces that led to you respecting someone else, if we acted on those same attributes, would it not be an avenue on how to gain respect? How to gain respect, then, comes down to us acting on the same principles and characteristics we find commendable in others. Further to the point, how to gain respect comes down to us allowing our personal core values lead the way on how we should behave.

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Let's examine some of those characteristics that will lead to how to gain respect:

  • Listen more: As pointed out previously, listening is one of the best ways to show respect. It is also one of the easiest ways to gain respect, because people appreciate at least being able to share their point of view. By listening, we are saying that, although I may have a point of view, I am willing to let you have your say. No one knows everything. This is a way to permit an open flow of information. Listening tells the person that I value your opinion and I view what you have to say as least as important as what I have to say.

  • Talk less: My mother used to say, "An empty barrel makes the most noise". Make your point short and succinct. I have always found that those who are the least secure in a position tend to filibuster, almost trying to convince themselves of a position. Make your point directly with legitimate rationales. Allow others to challenge what they feel is questionable, but require legitimate rationale back.

  • Genuine appreciation: Show appreciation because you mean it, not because it is the "polite thing to do". People recognize frauds. Genuine appreciation shows a person that you value the work or actions of another. Genuine appreciation always comes back ten-fold.

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  • Honest and forthright: Be a person of conviction. Hold to your position because you believe it is the right thing to do, not because it is the popular mindset. An honest person's views will always be sought out when an ethical dilemma is posed. These people are valued for their inherit knowledge of what is right.

  • Open minded; non-judgmental: This trait allows people to look for those who are willing to see all sides of an argument, even if they may not agree with what another has done. These people will be sought out as the intermediaries to help make things right. Also, they are sought out as the ones willing to consider a new point of view and bring it to the larger audience.

  • Self Respect: You can never expect respect from others, if you do not respect yourself. Self respect means being true to yourself and to your personal core values, even if it results in not agreeing with the crowd.

  • Humble: The old expression, "Actions speak louder than word" is the perfect concept for this trait. A self-confident person, who consistently follows his personal core values, does not need to spend all his time telling everyone how wonderful he is. This will come through in the person's actions. People respect when another simply goes about doing the right thing without seeking acclaim. This will be recognized and acknowledge. Being humble provides more time for you to do the right things instead of spending time seeking acclaim.

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  • Composure: "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going." People, in times of crisis, will gravitate to the cool head, the person who delivers a message of self confidence in her actions, and looks to find solutions rather than be rattled by the enormity of the crisis. In times of crisis, act on your best instincts with a view on how it might best help others.

  • Don't take yourself too seriously: Paul Newman once said, "Don't believe the legend." This is a corollary to being humble. Continue to allow your personal core values lead your way. They are what got you to where you are, and being true to them will enable you to maintain what you have achieved. Let others read the press clippings. You focus on being who and what you have always been, allowing for improvements in yourself based on those things you admire in others. These are not material trappings, but rather the intangibles like integrity, honesty, being humble, being open minded, and so forth.

  • Principles above power and money: "To your own self be true". This concept really is drawn from some of the previous points, where material things should be secondary to those personal core values that make you a good person. Do something because it is the right thing to do and not an expeditious way to gain more money or power.

  • Empathy & compassion: When dealing with others, being open minded and listening is empty unless you truly can feel and understand the other person's position. When in a position of power, have compassion for those who are struggling, and offer a helping hand. When another comes to you with a problem, consider how you might feel in that situation when evaluating what you should do.


People who act on these principles will gain respect from others because these are the traits that help improve our society. This is the quickest way on how to gain respect.










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