Can You Force Respect or Only Earn It?

  • -
force respect

Can You Force Respect or Only Earn It?

Tags : 

Respect is a commonality. Respect is something that nearly everyone wants yet often there is struggle to attain. Can you force respect?

People will do things for many different reasons. Fear is a big driver for action. We may fear future embarrassment if we don’t act, we may fear being removed from the team, or we may fear that we will be fired.

Short Game, Long Game

Motivation through fear is probably not a good idea for the long game. It works in the short game, but typically fails in effectively building relationships.

When the boss says, “We need to ship all of these orders today or corporate is going to close our facility.” that is a statement of fear. Certainly, it may spring people into action, but in the long game, it breaks down loyalty and commitment.

The feeling often becomes, “The Company doesn’t care about me, so I don’t care about the Company.”

Motivation and respect are often closely connected. You can insist someone must do something, and perhaps they will. What about respect, can you force respect?

Force Respect

I may not respect a hot stove, until I touch it. Telling me to respect it is valuable, but until I live it there may be some doubt.

Some people will give respect freely. Their values and beliefs direct them to respect first and obtain the supporting evidence later. In other cases, people may expect you to earn it, it is never just given.

How should you navigate this in the workplace?

You can try to force respect. However, it is likely an illusion. Respect works best when it is earned. It is part of the long game. It is a relationship built across time.

Forcing anything is a short run game.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Search This Website

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

Strategic, Competency, or Needs Assessments, DiSC Assessments, 360 Feedback, and more. Learn more