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"Kim, just wanted to say thanks for a fantastically informative site."

Paula Hanson


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How you can gain trust and respect from others

By Kim Harrison,

Consultant, Author and Principal of

By respecting other individuals, you gain their trust and respect in return. Not only does your attitude lift them, but it also lifts you.

Your respect can be shown in various ways. You can actively listen to others, you can thank people for their work at a personal level, you can recognize their work at an organizational level, you can be polite to others, and you can model good behavior as an example to others.

Feeling grateful to others and appreciating them has several beneficial effects on us individually: gratitude enables us to savor positive experiences, cope with stressful circumstances, be resilient in the face of challenges, and strengthen our social relationships.

Research has found that even simple expressions of gratitude can have powerful and long-lasting effects on those who receive them.

On the other hand, the impact of negative emotions, and especially the feeling of being devalued, is extremely toxic. People want to hear that they matter – it may be the most precious thing in the world to them. According to international research conducted by Watson Towers, the single most important factor in engagement is employees feeling their managers are genuinely interested in their wellbeing. Less than 40% of workers felt so engaged.

What's more, about half of employees deliberately decrease their effort or lower the quality of their work in response to incivility – and also decrease the time they spend at work. Almost 80% of respondents in a survey reported in the November 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review said their commitment to the organization declined. In other words, disloyalty breeds disloyalty.

It is obvious that respect is worthwhile. But respect is not just the obvious behavior and attitude. It is the more subtle things as well; lack of respect is revealed in the rudeness stemming from thoughtlessness. I can think of the senior manager who sits in meetings reading and sending email on his tablet almost the whole time. Others take phone calls while you are talking with them. Even more don't want to know about any problems because they are busy enough already. Others talk too much and don't listen – a common failure among PR people.

So what can we do?

For a start we can actively listen: we can pay attention to what the person is saying. Our attention is shown in the way we paraphrase some of their comments back to them – "I think what you are saying is…" or "Do you mean that…" And we respond to their comments rather than talking past them about things from our own point of view. We can follow up on commitments made in such conversations.

We can express appreciation. We can thank them for their efforts. We can initiate employee recognition programs. I believe giving appreciation and being grateful is hugely important. I have even written an e-book about how to give suitable recognition to others for their efforts.

Being appreciated is a fundamental human need. Let's thank people for their good work regularly and not just wait for birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas to say "thank you" sincerely to others.

About the Author

Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website,, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.


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