I’ve been pondering respect lately.  Coming from a police background I tend to grant respect according to rank and experience almost without thinking because that is what we were taught to do.  However, like most coppers, the automatic granting of respect does not mean that it will continue forever without question, because for me longevity of respect is based upon the actions of the person.   It must be earnt if it is to last.

I’m sure most of you will have come across people at various times of your life who have lost your respect and like virginity, once lost it is very hard to get back.

So what exactly does respect mean?   In looking for the answer to that question I came across the following quotes which encompass aspects of respect that I embrace.

Mark Clement:
Leaders who win the respect of others are the ones who deliver more than they promise, not the ones who promise more than they can deliver.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Men are respectable only as they respect.

John Wooden:
Respect a man, and he will do all the more.

Each of these have common elements.  Firstly for respect to last it must be mutual.  You cannot demand respect if you do not give it.   Secondly, respect is earnt by example, put in more than is expected and most of the time you will earn the respect of people you associate with.  The caveat to that is that will only happen if you don’t winge about the fact that you do more than others.

Demanding respect does not work for me.

The fact that you may be better looking, have more possessions, a red sports car or an hereditary title, or indeed bigger muscles, does not automatically mean that I must or will respect you.   Show respect to others and you will have taken a step in the right direction towards earning my respect.  But remember you need to work at it.  It cannot be something you turn on and off.  Your behaviour must be consistent.  Showing deference and respect to some whilst disrespecting others will negate any good will you have built with me.

What about you?  What makes you respect a person?