Because if you don’t, no one will. Your money, your cars, your post or your other fancy possessions will only take you so far. They don’t guarantee respect. Respect has to be worked for, like a salary you get at the end of every month.
Unlike a few things, respect cannot be forced. It has to be earned over a period of time. We all respect Narayan Murthy for a reason; or even Ratan Tata for that matter. It’s not because of their riches, but because they have built a respectable brand from ground up; are humble, are philanthropists, practice clean business, are knowledgeable and so much more.
There are a few things you can do to earn the respect of others, but these things or tips have to be followed over a period of time in order for them to work to you.
Open your ears
Listen to what people want to say. Don’t jump in and interrupt. Don’t act too eager to tell your story first. Learn to listen well. When you do that, people feel respected, and when they feel respected, they, in turn, start respecting you.
Be damn good at your game
In order to be respected, you need to be bloody good at whatever you do. Look at Mary Kom, Vijay Narang, Sushil Kumar, Saina Nehwal: all of them were victorious at the Olympics 2012. And what did that do for them? It got them instant respect of the country. Everyone loves a champion. Remember the girl who was the teacher’s pet in school? There was a reason for that. She was excellent in sports and studies. Was on top in whatever she did. And it isn’t easy. You ought to have some inherent talent and a burning desire to succeed. And if you’re good, confidence will automatically come. And if you appear confident, people will inevitably start respecting you.
Shut that trap
Most people get into trouble because they open their mouths when it is not needed. Don’t go on yapping without a reason. Speak only when it is absolutely necessary. No, don’t worry, no one will think of you as an idiot. Speaking when needed doesn’t mean you go into a shell and zone out of the conversation. It means contributing when you have something meaningful to say. I am sure we have all met people who lay out their entire history in front of you in the five minutes they get to talk: from where they were born to what they like to eat; from that fact that he has six toes to his reasons for not trimming his nose hair. Who needs to know all that? Keep a little mystery about you, reveal only what is pertinent.
Cut the phony act
When someone starts talking about a movie or a music band, don’t start nodding your head as if you know everything about it. Because when they turn around and ask you what you thought of the climax; or your favorite number from their tenth album, you will look like the biggest fool alive. It’s better to admit that you don’t know something, than lying about it and coming across as an idiot. If the others are polite, they will explain to you what they mean or what they were talking about, instead of excluding you completely. However, if you come across someone like that, be patient with them. Understand where they are coming from, their intense desire to fit in. Be understanding. You will automatically get their respect.
Never go back on your word
Until and unless it’s an emergency, never go back on your word. You tell someone you’d meet them at 2pm, show up at 1:59. You tell someone you would send them the presentation on such and such date, make sure you send it across by that time, no matter what. If you deliver what you say, you will, over a period of time get people’s respect and admiration.
Dress the part
I am sure you have observed this. If you haven’t so far, try it. Go to a retail store, say Marks and Spencers; or to an office dressed in casuals and note the reactions you get, right from the guard outside to the manager inside. Next time, go in formals, and see how they behave around you. People’s perceptions change according to the way you dress. If you dress sharply, you will notice that somehow people around you are more respectful, are more attentive. Someone who is dressed well definitely gets treated better than someone walking around in a kurta pyjama. Invest in good clothes and accessories. Along with that, be well mannered, use appropriate language and develop good social etiquettes: know how to hold a fork and a knife, or use chopsticks, or to cover your mouth while picking your teeth.
Be nice to people
When you meet someone be nice to them. You don’t need to please them or say yes to everything they say. Don’t laugh like a moron at their unfunny jokes. Just be courteous and polite. But being polite doesn’t mean you turn into a wimp, or don’t state your opinion or speak your mind. Stand up for you believe in, but with restraint and civility. Like the recent case of Balpreeet Kaur, a Sikh woman in the UK who learned a photo of herself was uploaded in the “funny” section on a social networking website and was being ridiculed for her facial hair and the way she was dressed. But instead of flying off into a rage, she responded to the post with grace and dignity and became an instant hero. She said, “I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body and must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will.”
If someone is introduced to you, remember their names, remember what they do. Remember things about them, maybe their kid wants to become an automobile designer. Enquire about that the next time you meet them. It shows them you care and they feel happy that you remembered stuff about them.
Don’t call something yours when it isn’t
What it essentially means is don’t take credit for someone else’s work. It is the biggest crime in the world. Not only will you lose your respect, you will also lose your credibility.
Start by respecting yourself, because if you don’t know one will. Cherish your achievements and celebrate your milestones. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Treat your mind and body with respect.
Don’t practice double standards
Having double standards is unacceptable. If you want people to come to work on time; or act professional; or be focused on their jobs, then you should set an example yourself. Only when you follow your own rules, will people listen to you. Don’t be the first to criticize people and then turn a fiery red when people are criticizing you. Don’t be the first to crack a joke on someone, but then make a face when someone returns the favor. Don’t cite an opinion before taking every thing into consideration, and don’t talk against people for no reason. Be fair and open.
So you see, you have to work to earn respect. It is never served to anyone without actually having deserved it.