Respect is not something you can conjure or demand, no matter how often you sing Aretha's anthem. Respect is earned. And often the people who are most respected don't have to try to earn it. They simply take action in a way that makes others feel admiration.
Without respect, it's hard to lead a company, manage a team or gain accomplishments. Earn and cultivate the respect of those around and you'll soon find support that can help you achieve almost anything. Here are 7 actions that respected people naturally take. With a little focus, you can add them to your daily practice and avoid the Rodney Dangerfield dilemma.
1. They Under-promise and Over-deliver
Think about how you lose respect for someone. It usually happens when they represent something to you that turns out not to be true. It doesn't matter how big or how small the act. The first time it happens you may forgive, but the second raises credibility concerns. By the third time, you'll likely never trust that person to deliver again. Conversely, respect follows those who religiously do what they say they'll do. With trust comes respect and vice versa; it is a continuous circle. Respected people never leave you hanging.
2. They Are Comfortable in Their Own Skin
It's nearly impossible to respect people who don't love and respect themselves. They don't need to be flawless, but neither can they be flaw-focused. A little self-deprecation is admirable, but only if it accompanies self-confidence and assuredness. No one wants to follow leaders who are insecure and constantly complain about their own inadequacies. Most respect those people who take control of their own lives and resolve or accept their own shortcomings with a peaceful smile. Respected people understand nobody is perfect.
3. They Find a Way to Be Inclusive
Individual performers can certainly impress, but not when they disregard others on the journey. In fact, the more someone blazes a solo trail, the more resentment they create. It's great to lead the way, providing you bring the followers along and engage them in the process. There is little glory or fun in reaching a pinnacle and then waiting for everyone to catch up. People earn respect by bringing others to the Promised Land so all who are motivated and capable can share in the experience, the risk and the reward. Respected people leave behind no willing and able person.
4. They Focus on Solutions, Not Blame
So much productive time in life is wasted playing the blame game. I can't think of a single benefit to the practice. Those who insist on harping on scapegoats for political gain end up looking foolish. In most cases, either the truth surfaces or the work environment becomes so toxic that productivity drops and no one walks away unscathed. Analyzing a problem and identifying the source is certainly valuable but, once the problem is clear, the focus should be on resolution. People who bypass the politics and blame to resolve issues for the common good earn admiration and loyalty from almost everyone. Respected people solve problems without creating new ones.
5. They Seek and Share Knowledge
There is great value in being an active and continuous learner, but keeping it to yourself raises the proverbial "tree in the forest" question. What good is growing smarter if you don't share that knowledge for the benefit of all involved? So many entrepreneurs strive for learning ... only to struggle when it's time to open up to the team that needs to execute. Of course it takes work and effort to create an effective process for teaching, but this is why excellent teachers garner so much respect and stay lifelong in your memory. Respected people know the value of communal learning.
6. They Praise the Work of Others
Everyone appreciates being acknowledged. A job well done deserves recognition, while false modesty gets old fast. But people who ignore those who took part in a successful accomplishment are soon despised as selfish and ungrateful. There is little you can truly accomplish solely by youself. A little demonstrated gratitude and acknowledgment will go a long way in bringing you the reverence of your supporters. Better yet, share the glory and raise the esteem of everyone involved. Respected people take pride in contributing to the success of others.
7. They Find the Joy in Everything
It's hard to believe that anyone can actually discover happiness in trauma and tragedy; amazingly, it does happen. Humans constantly hope for joy, yet many gloss over daily events on that can raise a smile or elicit a giggle. But there are those who take life a little less seriously, always looking for that moment that can break the tension. These are the people who demonstrate the best of humanity and make even the hardest workday a day worth having. Respected people love life with all its twists and turns.
The original "7 things really respected people do" article can be seen here.