You want to be respected, but you’re not sure how this whole thing works. The key here is to stop focusing on you, and start thinking about others. How can you help others? How can you inspire change, growth, and innovation? When you think about the people you respect deeply, what do they do differently from the average person? While you’re thinking about that, here are some of my own tips:
1. Be relentlessly proactive.
Don’t always wait for direction from others. Use your own skills and resources to start getting things done and solve problems. Get in the habit of figuring things out for yourself. Don’t be afraid of a challenge once in a while.
2. Keep your promises.
This is by far one of the most important actions you can take to start gaining respect. If you took commitments lightly in the past, don’t do that anymore. Always honor commitments and promises. If you find yourself having a lot of trouble with that, it means you make too many promises you can’t keep.
3. Stop apologizing.
People who are constantly saying, “I’m sorry,” without giving it a second thought are usually not the ones that are well respected. There is a time and place for apologies. Sometimes you make mistakes that affect family and friends. You can apologize to them. Meanwhile, stop using the word “sorry” a hundred times an hour for every little thing that goes wrong, especially in the workplace.
4. Don’t waste other people’s time.
If you respect others’ time, they will respect yours. This includes not being late for appointments, not spending meetings talking about useless items, getting to the point fast, bringing up issues right away, being succinct, and of course, making it easier for others to make decisions, especially when they are busier than you.
5. Stop gossiping immediately.
Always act as if the person you’re talking about is right there with you. You need to respect others—even if you don’t like them. Everyone has desirable and undesirable traits. Realize this and talk from this fundamental belief. If you talk behind people’s backs, you and your reputation will quickly become irrelevant.
6. Stop being too nice.
Distinguish kindness from always having to do things for people. Trying to make everyone happy won’t get you very far. Being a pushover is highly undesirable if your goal is to be respected. If you’re too nice to everyone all the time, some people might even think you’re not genuine.
7. Practice humility.
You’re not always going to be right, and you’re not the best at everything. Every person you meet can teach you something. Confidence doesn’t come from a place where you’re the best. True confidence comes from understanding humility, and that every person has something unique to offer to the world, including you.
8. Have a moral code.
Many overlook this important little piece of advice. What do you believe in? What’s important to you? What makes you mad and want to change the world? These kinds of questions will get you to the core of your own personal moral code. Figure it out and share it with the world in small amounts. All the great leaders of the world had a clear moral code.
9. Be open-minded.
At the other extreme of having a moral code is to remain open-minded. Being open-minded is not complicated, nor is it in conflict with having a moral code. It simply means that you acknowledge that you still have so much to learn, and you continue learning from others, even if you have a strong core belief system.
10. Add real value.
Whether you’re part of a community, a company, a group of friends or a team, you will be respected if you always think of ways to offer value to others. Value can come in many forms, but in the end it’s all about offering something to the world or to your community that can help by solving a problem for them. If you create something of value, people will respect you.
11. Always do your homework.
This means do the due diligence. When you’re interviewing someone, do the background research and find out everything you need to know to make an effective interview. When you’re going to a job interview, make sure you’ve done your homework about the company and know what their needs are. When you’re talking to friends, listen and retain information from the conversations and remember things that they care about for next time.
12. Be inspiring.
You can be inspiring by talking to others about your passions and goals without holding back. You can be inspiring by endlessly encouraging others to follow their dreams, goals, and visions, and showing that you have faith in them.
13. Learn to say, “No.”
Don’t feel guilty about saying no once in a while. Don’t worry about missed opportunities either. You don’t need to agree to everything that someone asks from you, especially if it is a superior or a client. Sometimes, you are more respected by saying no, rather than agreeing to do a thing. When you say no, you show you’re not afraid of admitting that you value your time, and that you don’t have time for everything.
14. Don’t believe the self-talk.
If you want others to respect you, of course it’s obvious that you need to respect yourself. It’s not always easy, as we all have our bad days. On those days, you will experience negative self-talk. Don’t believe it. Remember your strengths and learn from your mistakes. Confidence comes from knowing that failure and imperfection are the paths to greatness.
15. Believe in your ideas.
Don’t discard your ideas, even if they seem funny, weird, or unorthodox. Embrace your creativity and follow through with your ideas. If you follow through you will achieve something great—and others will wonder how you came up with such a unique idea. The thing is, most people have these unique ideas, but most people are afraid to follow up and implement them, because they seem too far-fetched.
16. Speak up when you’re mistreated.
Don’t just take it when someone is mistreating you, or taking advantage of you. Be professional and diplomatic, but don’t be silent. Speaking up for yourself is not always easy to do, which is why it is the mark of a person deserving respect.
17. Stand up for someone else.
When you see injustice around you, do you ignore it in order to avoid confrontation? Sometimes you have no choice, but there are moments when you need to stand up for others, especially when they cannot stand up for themselves. You don’t need to please everyone. Don’t be afraid of confrontation once in a while, as long as you do it in a diplomatic way.
18. Speak your mind.
When it is necessary, make sure you speak your mind. People who are highly respected have strong opinions on many topics, and lots of ideas about how to improve things. Don’t be afraid to mention these ideas once in a while, especially during a meeting, brainstorming session, or casual gathering.
19. Stop talking.
Sometimes you need to stop talking and listen. People who talk endlessly without pause are not usually respected (with very few exceptions). Listen to others. Stop talking about yourself all the time. Genuinely listen to people—really listen and try to understand them. Use silence to your advantage. Not every pause should be filled up with noise. Taking a moment to consider a thing before you open your mouth is almost always going to command respect.
20. Care about others.
Start caring about others. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people in your life, whether it is at work, home or church. Genuinely caring about others and showing concern during times of need shows empathy—a powerful trait of good leadership. It also shows that you don’t only focus on yourself, and that you have the emotional capability to pay attention and give help when needed. Not everyone can do this, which is why it is so powerful.
21. Control your emotions.
Make sure to curb your instant reactions to things that make you highly emotional—whether it is good or bad. Sure, it’s OK to be yourself and show enthusiasm. But remember that good leaders and well-respected people know the difference between responding and reacting. The latter is not a good habit.