How To Command Respect From People

From 20,000 employees, respect was the #1 behavior to encourage commitment and engagement.

The only way you can command respect from people is to not demand it.

👊 The Punch List:

  • The currency traded inside organizations is not money, but respect.

  • From 20,000 employees, respect was the #1 behavior to encourage commitment and engagement.

  • Demanding respect is “You will respect me!” while commanding respect is “I want to respect you.”

  • With 3 key principles you can command respect without having to demand it.

3 Key Principles to Command Respect From People

Make Respect Optional but With One Right Choice

This simply means always giving people the option to show you respect. You can’t force someone to respect you because respect is deep admiration elicited by qualities, abilities, or achievements. But if someone doesn’t respect you, weed them out of your life. There’s always an option to respect you, but there’s only one right option.

This works because for real respect, people have to choose to respect you on their own volition. So let them choose. But at the same time, if someone chooses not to respect you, don’t engage with them. They are anarchists. And one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch.

A real world example is telling people that it’s important to show up to your party on time, not making a big deal for the people who are late, but not inviting them to your next gathering because they didn’t respect your party.

Display Respect but Never Speak On It

This simply means carrying yourself in a way that communicates you are worthy of respect. Most times people sense the caliber of person they are dealing with within minutes of meeting. So dress nice, be respectful to others, and move with confidence. But also never speak on your power or respectfulness. Respect should be communicated nonverbally.

This works because people are always generalizing others from the moment they meet them. So from the moment someone sees you, they will have an idea of whether they want to respect you or not. But on the other hand, we all know that truly powerful people don’t have to speak on their power or respect. So the less you tell, and more you show, the more respect others will give you.

A real world example is someone showing up to valet in a luxury sedan, getting out the back seat, and wearing a tuxedo. They don’t have to say a word, but the valets will understand the caliber of person this is, and show respect accordingly.

Show Your Value but Never All Of It

This simply means reminding others often of why they do or should respect you. This isn’t just dressing nicely, but actually doing the thing that people you respect you for. Respect often comes from admirable accomplishments, qualities, or abilities. You should show your awards, display your qualities, or perform those abilities so people remember why they respect you. But not too much. Like Law 16 from 48 Laws of Power, you should be absent sometimes so others don’t figure you out completely.

This works because people don’t respect people just because. People want to see or remember why someone is worthy of respect and high praise. If you don’t remind people of your value, they will eventually lose respect. On the other hand, if you show too much people may learn your skills. You don’t want people to figure you out completely, and begin to undervalue you.

A real world example is a professional basketball player hosting charity games at high schools or public parks. But never staying too long, or showing too much where people learn all their moves and why they’re so good.

The skill of commanding respect is one that is more of an art than a science. People are motivated differently and impressed with different things. But if you learn to give others the option to respect you, display respectfulness, and show your value you will be able to command respect from ninety-nine percent of people.

And for the other one percent, remember to weed out the non-respecters, never speak on your respect, and don’t show all your value.

As WIPs dedicated to progress, we work for own satisfaction. But these tips will make each milestone that much sweeter from the respect and admiration we’ll inevitably command along the way.

Keep building, and respect will follow…

In progress,


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