You Have to Earn it: How to Command Respect at Work

If you expect to progress in your career, or even do your current job properly, you won’t manage it without respect from your boss or colleagues. However, even though respect is a huge part of corporate wellness, sometimes it gets demanded where it is not deserved. Your superiors may demand a certain level of respect from you, regardless of how competent they are, but shouldn’t respect be earned?


According to Manoj Khatri, author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders, ‘If you ask me, I would like to be respected only for my abilities and qualities, not because my position demands it. What perturbs me is that so many people are comfortable with fake respect. For example, I see so many subordinates who show respect to their superiors, whether or not they feel it inside. Usually they do so because they want to be politically correct. After all, they can’t afford to upset their boss!’


‘Showing respect is different from feeling respect,’ Khatri explains. ‘Genuine respect is felt inside. It is earned by living a life that inspires and motivates. It is objective and unbiased. But, it is not demanded. Yet, we find our elders, seniors, and superiors insisting that we respect them? The truth is that respect has nothing to do with age and seniority. In fact, it is possible that we may respect many people who are lesser than us in age, experience, or status. I respect many of my subordinates, not because they demand – they can’t! – but, because they command it through their work, their behaviour, and their attitude. On the other hand, I don’t feel respect for many of my seniors – because I find that they assert themselves needlessly, frequently to show their authority and feel in control.’


So then, how can you earn or command the respect of the people in your office, without demanding it? Khatri notes that, often, you reap what you sow in terms of respect in the workplace. ‘When we show genuine respect, the other respects us for our honesty and confidence,’ he says. ‘Yes, showing genuine respect to others implies that we are confident of ourselves to feel secure and therefore we can let the others know that we respect them. This brings us to self-respect…And we can’t expect others to respect us if we don’t respect ourselves.’

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