I see so many men who don’t have any level of respect for themselves let alone being able to command any respect from others. I was noticing the other day as I was walking to the post office, that there were people who wouldn’t even look me in the eye. And, not only would they not look me in the eye, they were working hard to ensure that they didn’t have to look me in the eye. When I shake people’s hand, I get these limp fish handshakes. Those are just two small examples of the manifestation of a lack of confidence. It’s bad, guys. You know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve seen this in co-workers, friends, kids, and maybe even yourself.
And, if you’re someone who is not commanding respect, you are living a life less than you’re capable of. I don’t want that to be the case. I want you, as a man to step up, to be assertive, confident, to be able to ask for promotions, ask women on dates, and get out of this life what you should. And, part of that is being able to command the respect of other people.
When I talk about commanding respect, one of the things that I’m really addressing here is the idea of the “X-factor.” We’ve all seen it. We’ve all been to a meeting, conference or office setting when we just feel somebody walk into the room. We turn around and see this guy who has “it,” whatever “it” is. We can’t quite put our finger on it but we know that this is a guy that has something special; there’s something unique about this individual. What a lot of men do is write that off and dismiss it as something that he was naturally gifted or naturally born with. Sure, there may be men who have a predisposition to be more like this but I’ll tell you what, being able to develop what most people write off as the “X-factor” is something that can be developed. I know this because that’s what I’ve been able to do.
For a long time (especially when I was younger) I walked around very insecure, very complacent, and frankly just a little bit afraid and scared of life in general. I couldn’t make eye contact with people. I couldn’t hold a conversation. And not only that, I actually just tried to avoid people altogether. It wasn’t up until relatively recently that I have been able to develop a level of confidence that allows me to look in another person’s eyes. This newfound level of confidence allows me to ask and command exactly what I believe I deserve. I’m just telling you, from experience, it’s a significantly better way to live.
I made a post on Instagram two or three weeks ago about teaching others how to treat you. A lot of people agreed with me and said, “Yeah, you definitely teach other people how to treat you,” and other people blew that off and dismissed it. I believe that you and I are constantly teaching other people how we will be treated. We do this through our actions and our words and the way we carry ourselves We teach our kids, spouses, colleagues, employers, and bosses to what level of respect we will be treated with.
That’s the last thing I want to see in men. I want men to walk around with their heads held high. I want them to have a level of confidence in what they’re doing, who they are, and how they show up because I believe that this will, first, save their sanity and well-being and, second, determine much of their success.
Study after study suggests that confident people make more money. They get the promotions. They get the jobs. They get the women. They get the success.
I was thinking about this topic and researching, I decided to share five strategies that will help you command more respect in your life. Before I tell you what they are, I would encourage you to share this with your sons, a boss, colleagues, co-workers, friend, brothers, a father, and any other man who needs to hear this message.
TREAT YOURSELF WITH RESPECT
If you want to be respected by other people, first and foremost, you need to respect yourself. I know a lot of men who downplay their role in society. They downplay their contribution to the family or to the business or to the community. I see a lot of guys who beat themselves up, get inside their own heads with negative self-talk, and surround themselves with negative people. They don’t respect themselves nearly enough, therefore, other people look at them and think, “I don’t need to treat this guy with respect.” People see how you treat yourself and determine how they’re going to treat you.
Hold your head up high. Know that you’re valuable. Know that you have worth. Know that you have a contribution to your environment, a conversation, an encounter, an experience, and/or a project at work. You are valuable. You have to let others know and you have to believe that about yourself.
Take a look at your own life. What have you done in the past that proves that you have something to add? I can guarantee that every one of us has something. And, yet, there are so many men out there who decide, instead, to focus on their failure, setbacks, and how horrible they are, or how weak and sad they are. They tell themselves these things and worse. The result of this behavior is that other people are going treat you the exact same way you’re treating yourself.
BE WORTHY OF BEING RESPECTED
Respect is earned. There are a lot of men who will read this and think that what I’m talking about today is demanding respect. No, it’s not demanding respect; it’s commanding respect. The difference is that people will voluntarily respect you if you command it. If you’re demanding somebody’s respect, you’re forcing them, you’re manipulating them, you’re coercing them, you’re using your position at a work, environment, or job to force people to respect you. That’s not respect at all.
Commanding respect, on the other hand, is having a level of confidence in yourself and doing work so that other people want to follow you. If you’re commanding respect people will want you to lead them. They’ll look to you and think, “That guy’s got the ‘X-factor.'”
So how do you do this? You simply do the things that are worthy of receiving that level of respect. If you’re in a leadership position, for example, and you’re asking your subordinates to do something you’re not willing to do yourself, they’re never going to respect you. When your words and actions are in alignment, you are in integrity; you are being a man of your word. People need to know you’re more than just talk, that you’re about action.
Be worthy of being respected. Do the hard things, put yourself out there, put yourself in difficult situations, learn new information, do something that scares you every single day. When you start doing that, you start building this level of confidence that can’t really be manipulated, it can’t be fabricated, it has to be earned.
COMMUNICATE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
No one is going to read your mind. No one is going to try to guess what it is that you’re after. I’ll give you a very small example: When I coached my boys’ baseball, football, and basketball teams, in the very first practice I talked about respect. I talk about what that means, what that looks like, how we will talk to each other, how the players are to talk to me, and what title they will be using when they address me. It is so important that you communicate the expectations.
You can do that verbally through the example I just shared, but you also do it non-verbally with how you carry yourself and your demeanor as you engage in conversations and activities. Let there be no guesswork, no misunderstanding, no confusion about the way you expect to be treated. Because, if there’s confusion, your needs are not going to be met and the needs of the people you’re working with (whether that’s your spouse, or your kids, or your subordinates) will not be met either. So, get on the same page, communicate the expectation, and know how you expect to be treated.
UPHOLD THE EXPECTATION
If you’ve communicated the expectation and you let people continue to walk over you over and over and over again, you’re never going to be able to command any level of respect. This is a very difficult thing to do. I talk to a lot of guys who play the “nice guy.” This is a huge problem for a lot of men because they believe playing the “nice guy” is the best way to get what they want. It’s not. It’s unhealthy. It damaging.
You don’t need to be the aggressive, macho, jerk either; you need to be the “assertive guy.” So, if something’s bothering you about the way somebody’s treating you, or the way they’re handling a situation, you need to get very, very good at being able to communicate that. Remind people of the expectation, that they have failed to meet the expectation, and what you need them to do now.
I’ll give you a prime example: The other day, I got back from a quick business trip on a Saturday. I asked my son to mow the lawn while I was gone. When I pulled into the driveway, I took a look at the lawn and saw that it was mowed but not very well. My son had missed a lot of areas. There were a lot of patches that he didn’t even hit. He just didn’t do a good job. My thought was that he probably knew this. So, very calmly, I went inside and said hello to my family, then said, “Son, come out here with me.” We walked around the grass and I said, “You know what it means to mow the lawn correctly, right?” to which he responded, “Yes.” I said, “Please explain that to me.”
I needed him to explain that to me because I wanted to make sure that we were on the same page and there was no confusion about what the expectation was. He told me what the expecation was and I said, “Yes, that’s correct. Now, the second question: does the job that you did while I was gone today match that expectation?” He paused for a minute, put his head down, and he said, “No, it doesn’t.” I said, “That’s right, it does not. Can you please share with me what you did not do correctly?” He walked me through the lawn and he showed me, “I missed this and I didn’t do this. We talked about this but I didn’t do it.” I said, “That’s exactly right.”
Now, here’s where most people would fail: Most people would say, “That’s okay. You can just go ahead and do it next week. Just make sure you get it right and do it next week.” or, “It’s okay, I just wanted to make sure you knew about this.”
Let me tell you what, it’s not okay. What needs to be said, is “You knew the expectation. I asked you to mow the lawn. That’s your contribution to the household. So what I’d like you to do is to go get your lawn mowing clothes and shoes on, put dinner away for a second, get back out here, and get the lawn mowed the way it needs to be mowed.
Was he happy about that? Of course not. That took away from what he was trying to do. I wasn’t happy about it either. That’s not a fun conversation to have. But unless I let him see that I am going to uphold the expectation, I need to be prepared for him to continue to do less than what is expected. That is how you uphold the expectation. If there’s a project at work and you have an employee who didn’t do the project to standard, they need to do the project to standard; not, “it’s okay this one time.” Not “I’ll let it slide.” Do not turn a blind eye. Uphold the expectation. Here’s what will eventually happen: People are going to begin to respect you. My son will see that I’m not messing around and, next time, he’ll mow the lawn the right way the first time.
I have the same types of conversations with my wife. I have the same types of conversations with the vendors I work with. When I had full-time employees, I had the same type of conversations with them. And the problems between me and them were few and far between because they understood that I am not an individual who is going to expect people to do things one way and let them go unchecked. This is not about micro-management either. This is about communicating and upholding the standard. If you don’t, no one else will either.
This does two things. First, it builds your level of confidence in yourself because you’re going to start feeling better about having an uncomfortable conversation you know need to be had. The alternative is not having the conversation and then being pissed off. It eats at your heart, your soul, and your mind because you knew something needed to be said and yet you didn’t have the balls to say it. So, go out and say it. Second, it proves to others that you’re somebody worth following. See, it’s really easy for people to just get by. In fact, people expect to be let down. But when you uphold the standard for yourself and you uphold the standard for them, you become somebody who is now more able to be relied upon and trusted.
REMOVE FROM YOUR LIFE THOSE WHO REFUSE TO RESPECT YOU
There are some people who are never going to adhere to your standard. Either they’re incapable of, don’t want to, or choose not to. They will never treat you with the level of respect that you believe you deserve. You could do everything else: treat yourself with respect, be worthy of respect, communicate expectations, uphold expectations, and yet there are certain people – employees, friends, co-workers, colleagues, even bosses – who refuse, for whatever reason, to treat you with the respect you deserve. Guess what? There’s nothing you can do about that. It’s unfortunate. It’s not comfortable. But it is what it is.
Remove the people who refuse to respect you. Here’s where people say it gets hard; “It’s my wife.” or “It’s my boss.” Look, I get it. I didn’t say this was going to be easy. You have a choice with regards to how long you’re going to allow yourself to be abused. At some point, it becomes abuse and you are allowing yourself to be the victim. If you recognize that there are certain people who are never going to treat you with the level of respect you should be treated with and you continue to let that happen, that’s your fault. If you recognize it and don’t do anything about it or remove yourself from the situation, that’s your fault. “Well Ryan, I have to stay because it’s my boss.” Nobody’s forcing you to do that job. “Well, I have to stay because it’s my wife.” Nobody’s forcing you to maintain that marriage.
Now I want to be very clear here, I’m not suggesting you be flippant about these situations. If your boss yells at you or you and your wife get into an argument, it’s probably not grounds for leaving. But what I am saying is that over time, through consistency, you realize it’s never going to change, you have to be the one to make the change. Understand some people are just never going to give you that respect. That’s okay. But if you continue to subject yourself to that situation, that’s now your problem, that’s now your fault.
So, do everything you can for as long as you can. Understand what your line is. When you get to that line, you’ll have some tough decisions to make. But that’s okay. That’s part of life. It’s hard. It’s awkward. You don’t want to do it. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not a fun process. But if you want to command the respect that you deserve, these are the stances, the conversations, the lines that you’re going to need to draw in the sand in order to command the level of respect you deserve.
This is not the entire process. I know I didn’t get very much in-depth into what it is we’re talking about here but it gets you on the right path. It gives you a start and, at least, it gets you thinking about what you need to do in your life to develop the “X-factor.”
Let me recap:
Treat yourself with respect. People are looking to you to determine how they can treat you and what they can get away with. Treat yourself with respect.
Be worthy of being respected. If you think about what that word “worthy” means, it means that you’re worth being respected. You have to do the difficult things, have the hard conversations, be a man of your word, and live in integrity with who you are and what you’re saying.
Communicate the expectation. We communicate the expectation verbally and non-verbally. Communicate with the people who you are trying to command respect from what the expectation is.
Uphold the expectation. If you don’t uphold the expectation, it’s not really an expectation; you’re just hoping and wishing that somebody will treat you with respect. If there is an expectation, there’s a line you need to keep in place. If you don’t, you’re not going to command the respect that you deserve. People are going to get out of line sometimes. You can let that line be blurred and muddied, or you can say “No. This is where I put my foot down.” Of course, you can do that tactfully and respectfully, but all the same, you need to put your foot down and uphold that expectation.
Remove from your life those who refuse to respect you. If you recognize through your consistent effort in maintaining these first four steps that there are people in your life who are never going to respect you the way you need to be respected, you need to eliminate those people from your life. It’s challenging. It’s tough. It’s not fun. But it is required if you expect to command any level of respect in your life.