How to gain and keep Trust and Respect

respect earned

To gain trust and respect – one thing is to say another thing is actually do it. When people say things they don’t even realise what the impact of an empty promise can have on the others.

I have a friend of mine who feel disrespected by his spouse. He has really very hard time and he is lost. Very nice guy. Capable, everyone likes him, caring, loving, smart. What’s wrong then? This is what I asked myself. Why does he feel like this?

I am far away from the idea that his wife live with him to make him miserable. This is not why people stay together.

After many conversations I heard lots of issues but there were several words repeated constantly – trust and respect.

What do we do to build respect? What make us as humans to respect the other humans and respectively to trust them? I have written how to build trust with our clients in business and shared my simple steps in another article but at the end of the day these are really human feelings and they exist in very similar way in the private life as well.

So what do you do to be respected? This is my opinion:

1. You don’t request respect. You earn it. It is a slow process and you have to cultivate it. Just like a sensitive plant.

If you start requesting it, you will never get it, no matter how hard you try to explain it to the others. I think that instead of requests we should just change something to make people first listen to us.

2. If you want something, you have to give something. Action-reaction

You shouldn’t just talking about the change but make it happen. If I say I will speak on TED conference, this doesn’t make me a presenter there. No matter how much I want to. But until staying with the wishes this cannot happen. It is very important to try to see the situation not only from your perspective. Don’t lose focus. It is crucial when it comes to building respect. This is where people waste most of their efforts. They are so busy to explain their point of you that after this nothing else is left because no-one listens. It is all about them. If you talk only about what you want you cannot expect people to respond positively on this.

In business communication if you talk 30% and leave the client to talk 70%, the client gets the impression that the conversation is with 50%-50% participation. Weird, but reality.

If you talk more than this, the chance of getting what you want is going down.


If your wife says she will help you with something you think it is important to you, you trust her, right? If she postpones the help she immediately puts you on stand-by position. You wait for her help. It is not coming.You remind at least 5 times, even more. This help doesn’t come. At all. What do you think about her if this repeats constantly? When you ask her why she postpones things she just gives a very simple answer – “Because I’ve been always like this”. But she is not like this at work and she is very successful there. Is this an excuse? I have my personal doubts.

I had a similar situation with a  business partner. I ordered something for a client of mine through this partner. Normally I organise  my shipments myself but this time I decided to do it this way so we can work together in the future. She is located close to me and it can be useful. What happened? I had to wait for the package 3 weeks instead of the normal 2,5 days. Even I called so many times to ask what is going on, I was receiving just an answer – “I am very busy, I will call you when I have the package” regardless the types of the questions I addressed. It is just stop before you start.

Then these two people come to you and request respect……how vulnerable are you to give it? How can you build respect when taking people for granted? They feel this. Nothing is for granted. 


People are different. If you start assuming them soon or later they will just go. Nobody likes to be put in a mould of certain expectations, visions and illusions. If you want respect, stay open for the details of difference. People observation is really essential. How to observe? Stay posted. I have nice things for you.

5. Don’t have certain expectations of the way you have to receive the respect.

The shades are not only grey and they are many. Make room in your mind for the new shades. You can be surprised! The world is bigger than your village. My mistake about the example I gave above with the potential partner was that I expected the same business attitude as mine. I didn’t take into consideration that may be in her culture things are done differently or may be just a simple technical problem which is huge for her but small for me.

Many relations both in business and in private life collapse just because the expectations are assumed. The key is in the clear communication in the very beginning. Don’t hesitate to communicate your limits and expectations. Like this none can be misled. These are not requirements but clarifications for effective collaboration. 

If you haven’t done it and you want to change the rules of the game, be prepared to meet huge resistance from the other side. Not because this change is bad but this is one side decision and the other party is not involved but pushed into it. Then many things are done and said in order to protect the territory. THE ONE WHO LOSES GROUND ATTACKS.  So be careful when you decide to make a change. Think HOW to make it so you can get win-win situation.

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