You don’t “get” respect, you “earn” it!

You don’t “get” respect, you “earn” it!

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at


You don’t “get” respect, you “earn” it!

In 1978, Rodney Dangerfield burst onto the comedy scene claiming he”got no respect.” That theme earned him millions of laughs, andmillions of dollars. The reason is the theme resonated with hisaudience, many of whom also got no respect. No respect from theiremployer, family members, or customers. Rodney was their champion,their anti-hero.

How respected are you?
How respectful are you?
How well do you believe you command the respect of others?

Respect is not defined in a dictionary. It’s intangible. It’s afeeling. And it’s an earned position. Contrary to popular belief,bosses do not command respect; they earn respect. And bosses who do not earn the respect of their people, have a high employee turnover rate and wonder why.

Respect is earned by words, and by actions. Things like keeping yourpromises or proactively providing service. Things like becoming morepersonally involved with the success of your customer, or takingresponsibility when responsibility is not really yours.

It’s the extra effort. It’s the extra mile. It’s the extra measure ofsincere effort that you put into your dialogue or your process. Otherscan sense that you care about them, and will respect that effort. Veryfew people will actually say, “I respect you.” Rather, they will dothings that prove their respect without ever having to say the word.Things like placing an order, placing a second order, or giving you areferral. Even things like taking your phone call, or returning yourphone call, show respect.

One of the keys to respect is the word personal. How personalare you in your actions? How personal are you in your communication?The more personal you are with others, the more respect you will earn.

But there is a secret to respect. If you master this secret you will beable to create respectful atmospheres in any environment you encounter.The secret is: In order to earn the respect of others, you must first respect yourself.

This means you have to have confidence in yourself. You have to likewhat you do. You have to be willing to serve. You have to likeyourself. And you have to love yourself. Like and love are two separateissues. You may like yourself for how you look, or how you sell, or howyou communicate, but you love yourself for who you are, what youbelieve in, and what or who you seek to become.

Loving yourself gives you the ultimate opportunity to respect yourself.I’m not saying that you have to be a goody two-shoes, I’m certainlynot, and I have a TON of respect for myself. What it means is doing the right things for yourself, taking the right actionsfor yourself, and loving yourself enough that its evident when youenter a room, evident that your expressions come as much from yourheart as they do from your mind, and the same with your actions.

I challenge you to spend one day in retrospect. Take a flip chart andbegin to document all the good things that you’ve done for yourself,and all the good things that you’ve done for others. Be real enoughwith yourself to admit what you like about yourself, and what you loveabout yourself.

Then document what you need to change about yourself that will make youbetter and stronger. Maybe your self-respect suffers from the way yousee yourself in the mirror, or some of the personal choices that youmake. Maybe it’s your environment. But whatever it is, if you don’tacknowledge it, you will never be able to change it or enhance it.You’ll never be able to grow in earning respect from others until yougrow in respecting yourself.

One of the most interesting parts of respect is there’s no measuringtool, there’s no “How much do you respect me?” Respect begins with anopportunity, and ends with reality. You can only get it by earning it,and it can only grow slowly over time.

The secret is easy. Do the right thing all the time and respectwill be yours. Say the right words, take the right actions, and believein your heart that you’re doing the best you can do — for yourselffirst, and for others second.

For a bit more on the secret elements of self-respect, go to and enter the word RESPECT in the GitBit box.