9 little behaviors that make people respect you more

There’s a vast difference between demanding respect and earning it.

Earning respect comes down to how you treat others and how you behave. It’s about showing up as your best self and treating others with kindness and empathy.

Respect isn’t something you can buy or bargain for, it’s something you earn, often through the small, subtle behaviors that make a huge difference.

The key to earning respect lies in the little things we do every day. And if you’re like me, you know that these seemingly small behaviors can pack a big punch.

Here are some simple behaviors that can help you earn more respect from the people around you.

1) Listen more than you speak

Listening is a powerful tool, often overlooked in our rush to make ourselves heard.

In our day-to-day interactions, we often forget the impact of truly listening to those around us. This isn’t just about hearing the words spoken, but genuinely understanding and valuing the perspectives of others.

The act of listening demonstrates respect for the speaker and builds trust. It shows that you value their thoughts and opinions, and are not just waiting for your turn to speak.

When you truly listen, you create an environment where open dialogue flourishes. This can lead to better understanding, improved relationships, and yes – more respect from others.

Respect is something earned over time through consistent actions. And by practicing active listening, you’re showing others that their voices matter to you. This simple behavior can dramatically increase the respect you receive from those around you.

Genuine listening involves more than just hearing. It involves empathy, patience, and genuine interest in understanding others. So be sure to practice these aspects of listening as well if you want to earn more respect.

2) Be true to your word

I learned the importance of this behavior from a very personal experience.

A few years back, I made a promise to a close friend that I’d help him with a project. Unfortunately, as the deadline approached, I got caught up in my own work and completely forgot about my commitment.

When my friend reminded me, I sheepishly admitted that I’d lost track of time and hadn’t done what I’d promised. The disappointment in his eyes was hard to miss.

From that day forward, I made it a point to be meticulous about keeping my word. I started using reminders and calendars to ensure I never forget my commitments, no matter how small they might seem at the time.

Being true to your word sends a powerful message about your integrity. It shows that you’re reliable and trustworthy, qualities that command respect.

Now, people know that when I make a promise, I’ll stick to it no matter what. This single behavior change has significantly boosted the respect I garner from those around me.

In short, when you say you’re going to do something, do it. It’s a small behavior that carries a lot of weight in earning respect from others.

3) Show kindness to everyone

Kindness is a universal language. It transcends barriers of age, culture, and social status. It’s also a powerful catalyst for respect.

In a Harvard Business School survey of 10,000 workers from over 50 countries, the most valued leadership quality wasn’t intelligence or technical skills. It was kindness and respect.

Showing kindness to people, regardless of their rank or role, can drastically increase the level of respect you receive in return. This behavior might seem small, but its impact is profound.

Whether it’s holding the door for someone, saying a simple ‘thank you’, or taking the time to acknowledge someone’s effort, these acts of kindness can make a huge difference.

Make it a point to be kind to everyone you meet. You’ll not only feel better about yourself but also earn the respect of those around you.

4) Take responsibility for your actions

Respect isn’t earned by playing the blame game. It’s earned by owning up to your mistakes and taking responsibility for your actions.

It’s easy to make excuses or point fingers when things go wrong. But, it takes strength and character to admit when you’re in the wrong.

Taking responsibility shows others that you’re self-aware, honest, and committed to personal growth.

It might be uncomfortable to admit your mistakes, but it’s a crucial step in earning respect. When you take responsibility, you show others that you value integrity over convenience.

When you make a mistake, admit it, apologize if necessary, and learn from it. This behavior is a surefire way to earn respect from others.

5) Be consistent

Consistency is key in earning respect. It’s about showing up, doing the work, and being someone others can rely on.

When your actions align with your words consistently, people start to see you as a person of integrity. They know what to expect from you and that builds trust and respect.

Consistency isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being reliable. It’s about showing up even when it’s hard, sticking to your commitments, and not letting others down.

It might seem like a small thing, but consistency can have a big impact on how much respect you earn from others.

Strive to be the person who follows through, who keeps their promises, and who is there when people need them. That’s how you earn respect through consistency.

6) Show empathy

There’s something profoundly touching about someone who can step into your shoes, feel your pain, and understand your perspective. That’s the power of empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s about showing genuine concern for people and their experiences.

When you show empathy, you create a deep connection with others. You make them feel seen, heard, and valued. This fosters respect and trust in a way few other things can.

We all face challenges. We all experience pain and joy. When someone understands this and shows empathy, it can be incredibly comforting.

Take the time to listen to others, to understand their feelings, and to show them that they’re not alone. This simple act of empathy can earn you a great deal of respect from those around you.

7) Practice humility

Coming to terms with the fact that we don’t know everything is a lesson that hit me hard. I remember working on a complex project where I was certain my approach was the best. I ignored input from my colleagues, convinced they didn’t grasp the idea as I did.

The project didn’t go as planned. It was a clear reminder that no matter how smart or experienced we are, there’s always something to learn from others.

Humility is about recognizing your limitations and being open to learning and growth. It’s about giving credit where it’s due and acknowledging the contributions of others.

People respect those who don’t let their egos get in the way of their growth. They admire people who are humble enough to admit when they’re wrong and wise enough to learn from their mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or admit you don’t have all the answers. This humility can earn you respect from those around you.

8) Show appreciation

Feeling appreciated is a basic human need. It makes us feel valued, respected, and motivated to continue doing our best.

When you show genuine appreciation for others, whether it’s for their hard work, their help, or just their presence in your life, you’re showing them that they matter. And this can earn you a great deal of respect.

You don’t need grand gestures to show appreciation. A simple ‘thank you’, a note of praise, or just a smile can do wonders.

Take the time to acknowledge the efforts and contributions of others. Show them that you appreciate them and watch how it boosts the respect they have for you.

9) Respect others

The golden rule holds true: treat others the way you want to be treated. If you want respect, start by giving it out.

Respect isn’t a one-way street. It’s reciprocal. When you show respect to others—regardless of their status, race, gender, or beliefs—you set a standard for how you should be treated in return.

Respect for others is reflected in how you speak, how you behave, and how you react to them. It’s about acknowledging their worth and dignity as individuals.

Make it a point to show respect to everyone you interact with. This simple act can go a long way in earning you the respect you seek.

Final thought: It’s about authenticity

The thread that runs through all these behaviors is authenticity.

Being true to who you are, honoring your commitments, showing kindness and empathy, being consistent and humble, appreciating others, and respecting everyone around you – these aren’t just ‘behaviors’. They are reflections of your character.

Respect isn’t a commodity to be traded. It’s a recognition of your authenticity and integrity.

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

When you consistently show these behaviors, you make people feel valued and respected. And in return, they extend the same respect towards you.

These aren’t quick fixes or hacks. They are habits to cultivate and live by. As you navigate through life, remember that the most profound respect comes not from bending others to our will but from lifting them up with our authentic selves.

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