If you are a fan of reading self-help books, you will have read often about how it is important to respect others. Self-help gurus often say that if you want to earn respect, you have to give respect first. You have to make people happy, which helps you earn your own happiness. But, what does it really mean to respect others?
Should you do anything, it takes to please them, even if that means compromising on your ideals?
When people speak about respecting others, it does not actually mean that you have to compromise on your core values in life. What it means is that you should be able to behave with them in the same manner that you would like them to behave with you. You do not have to put your coat down for them in the puddle so that they can walk over it—most likely you do not expect them to do that for you either—but the behavior is shown in the way you talk with people, act with them and deal with them in a general manner.
So how do you respect someone who is in a subordinate position to you? Here, respect comes from understanding what they are as humans. You should realize that every person is a human being and that they are subject to their strengths and limitations too. When you accept that, you are respecting them. You are respecting them when you understand that they might have emergencies sometimes too, they may have problems as well, and that they have their needs and aspirations.
Respect is subjective. How you respect your employee will be quite different from how you respect your father, for instance, and that will again be different from how you respect the President. Hence, there are times when you have to act in a situational manner.
One of the things that you should keep in mind when you are trying to show respect to people is that you have to avoid any kind of offensive actions. They shouldn’t feel offended or threatened by your presence. The best indicator that you are showing respect to someone is when they are comfortable with you being around them. If someone looks forward to meeting you and is happy to interact with you, then most likely you are respecting them in the best way you can.
Also, respect is indeed a two-way thing. When you respect others, you get respect. This is the truest thing we can say about respect.