Respect is often defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. The key word is elicited. Our actions and the outcomes we create are directly proportional to the amount of respect we think we should have and the amount of respect we think we should receive. While you can’t control or make your boss respect you, you do have the power to work towards earning that respect based on the outcomes you achieve, your attitude and other elements that I will discuss here shortly.

When working with my executive coaching clients, the subject of respect comes up frequently. Either they are challenged with not feeling respected or they feel that they have been disrespected by an individual higher up on the organizational chart. We discuss what respect means to them, how they feel it should be demonstrated and break down what meaning they are making around their boss’ words and actions. If they are looking to stand up, stand out and earn the respect of their boss, I walk them through six proven ways that will ensure they gain and keep respect in their organization.

1. Communicate Effectively And Often

Communication ensures alignment and connection. Any challenge can be resolved with authentic heart-felt communication. When in doubt, over-communicate so that your boss knows what’s going on and everyone knows what is expected and what is needed. Concise communication raises your status, saves everyone time, and moves the ball forward. Communication creates visibility and transparency—both of which help your boss make better decisions.

2. Model Integrity

Make your word your bond. Honor confidentiality. Keep your commitments, communicate in advance if you are going to be late and always be a reliable trusted team member. Ensure that your boss doesn’t need to check in on you by consistently delivering on time and per your commitment. Walk your walk and talk your talk. Focus on details and deliver accurate work.

3. Reflect Consistently 

Make time to reflect on yourself, the clients, the company so that you learn how to improve and serve others best. Identify behaviors you want to shift and seek the support you need. If things aren’t going as you want, look into how you created the breakdown. Then fix it. Lessons are when we learn once. Mistakes are when we continuously repeat the same blunder. Avoid this at all costs.

4. Be An Active Contributor

You’re here to make a difference, to be of service to all, both inside and outside your company. Be proactive, take initiative, bring solutions and never wait for someone to tell you what to do – anticipate and make a difference. Add value far beyond the scope of what you are paid for. The result? You’ll be a valued tribe member and get promoted. Again and again.

5. Continuously Learn And Raise Your Bar

Be a continuous learner. Be committed to growing and stretching into new definitions of yourself and your capabilities. Accept feedback as an opportunity to grow, and then implement the learning you have received. Get excited about what you could do and become with new skills that you take action to cultivate.

6. Be Optimistic And Energetic

Bring great energy and passion to your work. Don’t think of your position as a job, think of it as a mission, an opportunity to transform and support people who support and transform others.

The result of your passion is a better world/company/experience for all. If you continuously demonstrate that making a difference in the lives of others is important and meaningful to you you’ll go far.

The key is to model the above behaviors consistently, this isn’t a “one and done” formula. Your values and your efforts will be recognized in your organization and by your boss. Remember, you can’t make someone respect you. You can make consistent effort to earn respect and at the end of the day, the person whose respect you need the most, is your own.