Most people confuse being respected and being too pushy.
The truth, however, is that you can’t force anyone to respect you. And quite often, being respected is not about the things you do but about the things you avoid.
Over the past four years, I analyzed some of the most respected people of our time, ranging from Oprah to Arnold Schwarzenegger. I also had a close look at my professors, bosses, and family members. And I realized that highly respected people have a few things in common.
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All these people do different things and have diverse personalities, yet, what unites them is that they avoid certain habits.
If you want to be more respected at work or in your social circle, watch out for the following practices and eliminate them as soon as you can.
1. Belittling themselves
You teach others how to treat you by the way you treat yourself. That’s why highly respected people treat themselves with respect. If you don’t respect yourself, nobody will.
You need to value your time, energy, and work if you want others to do so. That’s not selfish but necessary.
There’s a lot you can do to show more respect for yourself:
- You show the world how much you care about yourself by the way you dress and look. If you don’t even take a few minutes to get your hair done or put on a nice shirt, why should anyone else care about you?
- If you’re always accessible, people won’t respect your time. Protect your calendar and be valuable instead of available.
- Take space: Don’t make yourself small during presentations, meetings, or group discussions. Your body language tells a lot about your confidence and you have the right to be seen.
- Also, make clear that you expect others to at least give you a heads up if they’re late and make you wait. Let them know that your time is precious. That’s not arrogant or selfish, but necessary if you don’t want to waste your life waiting for others.
By treating yourself with respect, you’ll teach others how to treat you.
2. Belittling others
Genuinely respected people treat others with respect.
There’s a difference between respecting someone because of their age or position (such as your boss) and respecting someone because of who they are as a person, regardless of age, social status, or job position.
You won’t ever respect someone who makes you feel dumb. You might need to act as if you’d appreciate them, but deep within, you’ll hate that person.
We never respect those who make us feel bad about ourselves. We might envy them for their success, but we don’t appreciate them as a person.
Instead, we respect those who treat us well, accept different opinions, and make us feel understood.
Highly respected people show that they understand why you think what you think, even if they disagree with you. Instead of trying to persuade you of their point of view, they open up for your opinion.
A few sentences you can use to show that you understand someone’s opinion are:
- “I totally understand why you see things that way.”
- “There’s a good point for your statement.”
- “I get your point, that’s a complex issue.”
- “You raised a great point.”
By respecting someone’s point of view, you make them feel appreciated instead of dumb. This, in return, helps you to be more respected.
Truly respected people don’t want you to feel stupid; they want to help and educate you in a genuine way. Even if they disagree with you, they’ll give their best to understand your perspective.
If you want to be respected, respect others.
3. Being stubborn
Instead of being stubborn and enforcing their own opinion, respected people encourage dialogue. They pay attention to those who want to share their opinion and they listen carefully.
They treat others by respect and say please and thank you more often than the majority.
Insisting on your way of doing something won’t help you be respected, even if it’s the right way to do it. To be appreciated, you need to be a good listener and be open to new ideas.
We all love talking, but only a few enjoy listening. That’s why highly respected people are often those who can listen without interrupting others.
Only if you listen without judging and sharing your own perspective can you fully understand someone’s point of view. And if you understand them, you can act upon their needs.
4. Changing their mind too often
We tend to respect disciplined people more than those who change their minds often.
Even if genuine respect isn’t tied to a career or financial success, we’re more likely to respect those who don’t give up but follow a path for long enough.
To be a respected person, you need to prove why you deserve that respect and your level of discipline is one of the traits that can distinguish you from a lot of other people.
If you want others to appreciate your opinion, you need to convince them that you made the right decisions in the past. And if you change your mind all the time, you won’t be able to create great results.
Highly respected people validate their situation, make well-thought decisions, and are disciplined.
Even though they’re open to listening to others’ opinions and new opportunities, they don’t change their path easily but stay focused.
5. Telling you what to do
Respected people don’t force you to do things. They might want you to do something, but they communicate it genuinely.
They either validate their point by telling you stories or explaining why it’s essential to do something, or they lead by example.
We usually dislike people who tell us what to do. And we hate feeling subject to someone. That’s why it’s so hard to be a genuinely respected leader.
If you want others to do what you say, you need to clean up your own mess first. You can’t expect people to do something if you don’t do it yourself.
Instead, you need to lead by example: Show them why you’re doing what you’re doing and which benefits you gain. Tell stories. Keep their attention on the positive and the potential outcomes.
Gossiping is one of the widely shared yet unconscious addictions. But nobody will ever respect you if you always talk badly about others.
When you gossip, you’ll be associated with the bad traits you talk about others. If you tell someone that your colleague is lazy and always late to meetings, their brain will associate you with being lazy and late.
Gossiping doesn’t only harm your inner world, but also creates a negative influence on the outside. If you talk badly about someone else, you’re showing that you don’t treat others with respect. This, in return, harms your own reputation.
If you want to be respected, start respecting others. Whenever you find yourself gossiping, stop for a second and try to think of a positive trait of that person. You can learn something from anyone. You just need to focus on the good instead of the bad.
If you want to be a respected person and don’t want to do it in a dominating way, you must acknowledge the other person.
Considering other people’s reality and adapting your language, speed, and ideas will help you to gain their respect.
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you need to respect where they’re coming from and where they want to go. And most of the time, trying to understand them and listening carefully is enough.
If you want to be a highly respected person, avoid these negative habits:
- Stop belittling yourself: You teach how to treat you by showing them how you treat yourself.
- Stop belittling others: To be respected, you need to respect others.
- Stop being too stubborn: Be open to understand the point of the other person, even if you don’t share the same opinion.
- Stop changing your mind too often: It’s easier to trust and respect people who are disciplined and follow one course.
- Stop telling others what to do: Show them by being a good example yourself.
- Stop gossiping: Look for the positive traits in others.
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