Ms. Aretha Franklin nailed it, but a lot of persons believe that the title “leader” automatically commands respect.

WRONG — respect is earned. When people respect you only because of your authority, they will give you the minimum effort.

So do you earn respect or expect it?

Garner respect by following the actions below;

1. Demonstrate passion for the purpose of and the people in your organization — Share your vision as much as possible. Make sure you’re communicating that passion to your team and you’ll earn and keep their respect. A team who has clarity of where the business is going will be an effective team.

2. Be consistent and authentic in your decisions and actions — Nothing will make you lose credibility faster than saying or doing one thing and saying or doing the complete opposite — no-one wants to feel like they are on a see-saw. Your team will pay attention to what you say until you give them reason not to by doing the opposite.

3. Recognize and reward — Recognize in public the achievements of those employees who have reached goals or success. Good leaders know how to reward high performance within the company. Make the recognition fits the achievement.

4. Be prepared to take risks and own your mistakes — As a Leader there’s an expectation that you’ll take calculated risk in your business. Conversely that risk may not deliver the results you anticipated and in these situations don’t seek to blame, take ownership, learning and the required steps to rectify it. Your team will respect you more for it and it set’s a great example of what you would expect from them in a similar situation.

5. Lead by example — don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty — it’s how you’ll learn. I don’t mean getting into the minutiae of everyone’s role, but do learn enough so you know how to shift between the big picture strategy and the lower level of the day-to-day business operation. The more you can navigate between them — and connect them for people — the more engaged your team will be and the more they’ll understand the rationale behind the actions you take.

6. Respect your team — Respect cuts both ways and it can often be demonstrated in the smallest of actions. Be punctual to meetings — time is also a valuable commodity to your team. When you’re in one to ones, actively listen — don’t be multi-taking on your phone or answering emails. Show genuine interest in them.

7. Trust your team — You can’t possibly do it all yourself, so provide employees with reasonable autonomy. Micromanaging is tiring and your team will quickly become frustrated with you. Give them the scope and trust to make the right decision, be a facilitator who empowers their employees.

8. Don’t hog the limelight — Your team’s success is your success. A leader is judged by the success of their team and that means that they should be constantly seeking to put their team in the spotlight if they do great work. Demonstrating a real interest in your team’s professional growth is an effective way to earn their respect.

9. Seek and welcome feedback — Some of it might be hard to take — giving feedback is much easier than receiving feedback! Yet you will gain far more respect as a leader because you are opening yourself up to your people. Plus, how are you going to grow as a leader if you don’t know if what you are doing is having the right impact or if you are you leading effectively? It can be empowering process.

10. React expeditiously — Don’t bury your head in the sand when problems arise, waiting for them to turn into something monumental. Your team will look to you to know to handle problems as they arise, so always be on the alert.

11. Communicate with respect across all platforms — Consider your tone when you speak and your body language when delivering messages. Every element of your communication matters, how are you communicating in your emails — are you “shouting”, emailing when you really should be having a face to face dialogue? Communicate with respect and you’ll find same being reciprocated.

Your leadership legacy isn’t just about your prowess to deliver the numbers or your business’ core objectives, it should be about the positive, personal impact you created. Everyone always remembers a great leader.

Respect is not something you can check off a list, you have to practice it daily. But once mastered it’s one of the most important things you can do in leadership.

Janice Sutherland is an award winning women’s leadership expert and founder of This Woman Can an online community for professional women. She provides coaching and training specializing in helping women and organizations build leadership skills through Executive Mentorship, Leadership Training and Executive Team Facilitation for both corporate executives and entrepreneurs globally. She is a sought after keynote presenter for corporate and nonprofit environments and speaks on issues relating to leadership, women’s advancement, professional success and work/life alignment. For more details, visit