Earning respect can be a tricky subject, especially at the workplace. Things such as starting a new job in Malta, working with new colleagues, and dealing with difficult situations can all make giving and earning respect at work a challenge. Learning how to strike the right balance when it comes to giving and earning respect is crucial.

It is expected of superiors to exercise authority over their employees, however it is fundamental for them to show compassion and be understanding towards their subordinates when doing so. It is important for managers to appreciate that the members of their team are diverse and human and therefore, they should be treated accordingly. Respecting that people have different skills, including different strong points and weaknesses, and using this productively for the good of the company is a skill which all managers should strive to achieve. Additionally, being fair and giving people what they merit are other ways of earning respect from others.

Those employed in higher positions should also be self-aware and accept that they too have their own strengths and weaknesses. Admitting to their own mistakes and accepting failure are two powerful ways of showing this and earning the respect of their colleagues.

It is important to note that respect works both ways, and although employees should respect their superiors, they should also seek to gain respect from their superiors. There are several ways in which one can earn the respect of their managers or boss. Developing a good work ethic by completing tasks on time, taking the initiative to go that extra mile, taking charge of responsibilities, and owning up to any mistakes made are excellent ways to start earning the respect of others. The way you look at yourself also sets the bar for the way other people look at you. Displaying self-confidence and demonstrating your value and worth as an employee allows other people to look at you through the same eyes you look at yourself, thereby earning you respect.

Furthermore, being professional at all times, and not succumbing to office gossip can earn you respect from your colleagues. Everyone will most likely experience conflict at the workplace at one time or another - this is an unfortunate, yet inevitable aspect of any busy workplace. However, the way in which you deal with conflict can either lose or earn the respect of your colleagues, so it is important to deal with conflict in a mature and proactive manner.

Ultimately, respect can neither be earned nor given without listening to others. American author Bryant H. McGill once wrote, “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” This works both ways - superiors should listen attentively to the concerns and queries of their employees, whilst employees should listen to their superiors, whether it is constructive feedback or otherwise.

With today’s fast-paced world, we must remember that each and every one of us is human before we are employees and employers. The ability to acknowledge that everyone else in your workplace is human is the foundation for a respectful approach towards others. Respect should be sought and given for what makes us individuals, and this will allow us to develop happier, more positive and productive workplaces.

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