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Gaining Respect: Proven Strategies to Build Respect at Work & in Relationships

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    Respect is a crucial component of success, both in the workplace and in personal relationships. It is something that is earned over time through your actions and behavior, and it is essential for creating a positive and productive environment. Without respect, it is difficult to build trust and collaboration, and it can even lead to conflicts and division. In this article, we will discuss the 5 strategies for gaining respect at work and in relationships, and why these steps are important for achieving your goals.

    Why Many Of Us Don’t Feel Respected At Work

    If you’re struggling to build respect in the workplace, you’re not alone. The common advice and methods for earning respect often fall short, as they don’t take into account the unique dynamics and challenges of each individual’s work environment. This one-size-fits-all approach makes it difficult to effectively apply and achieve desirable results.

    Advice on gaining respect often places too much emphasis on external factors such as appearance or behavior, neglecting the important role that internal factors such as mindset and attitude play in shaping perceptions and earning respect.

    Additionally, power dynamics such as gender, race, and seniority are often overlooked in this advice. Though experienced leaders can provide valuable insights, many of them misinterpret the barriers to gaining respect and overlook the impact that their seniority has on their perceived respect.

    If you are among the many people struggling to be recognized in the workplace, it’s likely that you’re in a position of limited authority. However, there are still ways to gain respect from your colleagues, even in this seemingly disadvantageous position.

    These methods may not be intuitive or widely taught, but by addressing the underlying issues that may be hindering your efforts, you can find impactful ways to earn respect and be perceived as trustworthy.

    How To Gain Respect At Work

    Gaining respect in the workplace requires a thoughtful approach that prioritizes building credibility and trust among your coworkers and direct reports. People are inherently simple. They respond well to individuals who put their needs first and make an effort to establish positive relationships. By focusing on these key precursor steps, you can lay the foundation for earning the respect you deserve in your professional life.

    To achieve this, it’s crucial to take an active role in establishing your credibility and building meaningful connections with your colleagues. By prioritizing their needs and making a genuine effort to get to know them, you can create an environment where respect and mutual trust thrive.

    Once you have established credibility and trust among your coworkers and direct reports, it’s time to leverage your core expertise to solidify your position as a respected professional. Your specialized skills and knowledge will help to further demonstrate your value to your team and drive home the respect that you have worked so hard to earn.

    In addition to showcasing your expertise, it’s also important to develop a confident, bold, and assured leadership style. These qualities will help you to inspire trust and respect in those around you. And will position you as a capable and effective leader. By mastering the art of demonstrating confidence, boldness, and assurance, you can cement your reputation as a respected professional in your workplace.

    By implementing the following steps, you can bring together all the elements necessary to achieve your professional goals and build strong relationships with those around you.

    1. First Build Credibility And Gain Their Trust

    Building credibility and earning the trust of others is a critical first step in gaining respect in the workplace. One effective strategy for establishing trust is to admit to your mistakes and demonstrate your willingness to be accountable. By doing so, you show your coworkers and direct reports that they can rely on you to be honest and transparent. And that your words carry weight.

    Two men looking at each other and shaking hands at a desk.

    As you build credibility and gain the trust of those around you, your ideas and suggestions will be given greater consideration and seen as more credible. This, in turn, will increase your influence and help you to establish yourself as a respected and trusted professional in your field.

    2. Give Something First (Reciprocity)

    A key early step to getting others to respect you is to get them to first like you. Here are two easy ways to get others to like you: Use the principle of reciprocity. If you give something to a person, they will feel an unconscious pull to give you something back. Often this will be the benefit of patience and respect for what you have to say. If you put the needs of others first, they will feel a sense of liking to you. Don’t talk about yourself. Don’t talk about your accomplishments. This is merely you looking past these other individuals. Instead, get people to talk about themselves. Listen intently to what they tell you about themselves. Remember what they tell you and let them know that you care about their concerns.

    Purple flowers, a black pen next to a purple and white Thank You card.

    Establishing positive relationships is a crucial step in earning the respect of your coworkers and direct reports. By making a genuine effort to connect with others and understand their needs, you can cultivate a strong foundation of trust and goodwill that will pay dividends in your professional and personal life.

    Use the principle of reciprocity. By showing generosity and kindness towards others, you can create a sense of obligation that will lead them to treat you with respect and patience. You can learn more about how the influence principle of reciprocity works here.

    3. Put The Other Person’s Needs First To Gain Their Respect

    Putting the needs of others first is a powerful way to build strong, positive relationships and earn the respect of those around you. When you focus on the interests and concerns of others, you show them that you value their contributions and that you are committed to working together to achieve common goals.

    A woman and man giving each other a high five in the office as they mirror each other.

    It’s important to avoid talking excessively about yourself and your accomplishments, as this can be perceived as self-centered and dismissive of others. Instead, make a conscious effort to engage with others and encourage them to share their thoughts, experiences, and opinions.

    By actively listening and demonstrating your genuine interest in what others have to say, you create a sense of connection and establish yourself as a thoughtful and compassionate individual. Furthermore, remembering key details about your coworkers and direct reports demonstrates your commitment to their well-being and helps to reinforce your bond.

    4. Demonstrate Your Expertise On Your Subject Area

    Once you have shown others that you are a credible and trusted colleague, you can begin to show them your grasp over your subject matter areas. However, it is important to approach this task in a positive and humble manner, avoiding a boastful attitude that may turn people away.

    Two women at work writing on a whiteboard

    The persuasion principle of authority can be a valuable tool in this endeavor. When someone is perceived as an expert and an authoritative figure on a particular subject, they are more likely to be trusted and followed. This is especially important in situations where people are uncertain and lack the knowledge and expertise to make informed decisions. In such cases, individuals often turn to secondary aspects of the requestor, such as their qualifications and perceived level of authority, to guide their choices.

    It is important to note that people may not always be aware of their own limitations. And may be reluctant to admit to themselves and others that they need guidance. However, by presenting oneself as an authoritative figure in a humble and approachable manner, you can effectively demonstrate your expertise and help others make informed decisions. This will go a long way in gaining their respect.


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    5. Lead With Confidence, Boldness And Authority

    Becoming a respected leader involves several key elements, and one of the most important is demonstrating strong and confident leadership. In order to gain the respect and trust of your team, it is essential to make well-informed decisions that take into account the potential risks and benefits.

    A man in a blue t-shirt and blue jeans on a stage in front of a large audience giving a talk. There are several large TV screens on either side of the auditorium.

    To do this, it’s important to run a thorough risk-benefit analysis with your team, considering all the available options before settling on the best course of action. Once you have made your decision, it is crucial to stand behind it firmly and put all your effort into ensuring its success. This shows your team that you are confident in your choices and are committed to leading them to success.

    People are often inspired by confident and decisive leadership, and they are more likely to rally around your ideas when they see this kind of approach. By being a strong and decisive leader, you will establish yourself as a credible, confident, and respectable figure in the eyes of your team. This not only helps to build trust and respect, but it also sets the tone for a positive and productive working environment.

    Why These 5 Steps Will Allow You To Gain People’s Respect

    To earn the respect and trust of others, it is important to exhibit a combination of key qualities that demonstrate your competence and character. One of these qualities is generosity, which can be demonstrated by giving something first. This can help build trust by showing that you are not solely focused on your own needs, but are also willing to help others.

    Another key quality is consideration and empathy, which can be shown by putting the needs of others first. This demonstrates that you are aware of the impact your actions have on others, and that you are willing to make adjustments to ensure everyone is comfortable and happy.

    Confidence and boldness are also important traits for a leader, as they inspire others and create a positive work environment. People are more likely to follow someone who is confident in their decisions and is not afraid to take risks. Demonstrating your expertise through the persuasion principle of authority enhances your credibility and shows that you have a deep understanding of the subject matter.

    By exhibiting these qualities, you can establish yourself as a trustworthy, knowledgeable, and capable leader who others are more likely to follow and respect. Building a reputation for being generous, considerate, confident, and knowledgeable will not only help you gain the respect of others, but it will also set the foundation for long-lasting and productive relationships.

    How To Gain Respect As A Woman

    Women and men sitting on a couch and chairs in a business meeting discussing a situation at work.

    Gaining respect in the workplace is an important aspect of professional growth and success. Women, in particular, possess qualities that can be leveraged to earn respect from colleagues and superiors. With emotional intelligence, women are equipped to communicate effectively, empathize, and form strong relationships with others, which can greatly contribute to building respect in the workplace.

    Women are also well known for being strong team players and collaborators, which allows them to work effectively with others and establish positive relationships in the workplace. This ability to collaborate and work well with others can earn them respect from their peers and superiors.

    Additionally, women’s ability to adapt and respond to changes and challenges in the workplace showcases their resilience, problem-solving capabilities, and ability to manage change. This can earn them respect from their peers and superiors for their flexibility and effective response to changing circumstances.

    By highlighting these qualities, women can establish themselves as knowledgeable, trustworthy, and capable leaders who others are more likely to follow and respect. Leveraging their unique skills and abilities allows women to effectively earn the respect and trust of their colleagues and superiors in the workplace.

    How To Gain Respect In A Relationship

    Gaining respect in a relationship requires a combination of trust, mutual understanding, and effective communication. Here are a few tips for gaining respect in a relationship:

    Black silhouette of couple at a beach against a white and red background.

    Listen and communicate effectively: Good communication is key to building trust and understanding in a relationship. Make an effort to listen to your partner and actively engage in open and honest conversations. Avoid interrupting or talking over each other and instead, focus on understanding each other’s perspectives.

    Show empathy: Being empathetic and understanding your partner’s feelings can help build respect in the relationship. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand where they are coming from.

    Be trustworthy: Trust is a crucial component of any relationship, and gaining your partner’s respect requires building trust through your actions. Be honest and transparent in your dealings with your partner, and follow through on your promises.

    Respect each other’s boundaries: Understanding and respecting each other’s boundaries is key to a healthy and respectful relationship. Be mindful of your partner’s needs and limitations, and avoid pushing them beyond their comfort zone.

    Treat your partner with kindness and respect: Show your partner that you value them by treating them with kindness, respect, and consideration. This includes both the way you speak to them and the actions you take towards them.

    By following these tips, you can gain the respect of your partner and build a strong, healthy, and respectful relationship.


    Gaining respect from others does not have to be complicated if you approach it the right way. Rather than relying on conventional methods that often prove ineffective, focus on acknowledging and fulfilling the needs of those around you. This means making others the center of your attention. Putting in effort to establish credibility and trust as a colleague or leader. Additionally, demonstrate a deep understanding of your field, lead with confidence, and make decisive decisions. By following these five simple steps, you will find that your respect among others grows naturally.

    Books That Will Help You Earn The Respect Of Others

    Cover page of How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    This classic book will teach you the fundamental principles of building relationships and gaining respect. Including the power of kindness, the importance of listening, and the value of empathy. By applying these principles, you will earn respect from your colleagues and superiors in the workplace.

    Cover page of the book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

    Maxwell outlines the principles and practices necessary for individuals to become effective leaders and gain the respect of those they lead. He provides a comprehensive guide on how to become an effective leader by following 21 proven principles that lead to success and inspire followership.

    Red and white cover page of the book Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler

    Learn how to handle high-stakes conversations with clarity and confidence, building respect through effective communication and conflict resolution skills.

    Shaun Mendonsa, PhD is an influencing expert and pharmaceutical development leader. He writes on the topics of influence and persuasion, and develops next generation drugs in human pharma by advising international pharmaceutical CROs and CMOs. He can be reached at [email protected].


    Decision Making, Career Development; Leadership Development, Career Advice; Influence; Persuasion; Principles of Persuasion; Personal Development

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