Published on January 5, 2021

How to Become a Leader That People Respect

How to Become a Leader That People Respect

All I am asking…is for a little respect. That is the line that Aretha Franklin made popular in 1967 with her hit song entitled RESPECT. If we are honest, the words of that song ring true in our hearts today. As leaders, this concept of respect is even more powerful as each of us wants to learn how to become a leader that people respect day in and day out[1].

Did you know that there were two versions of the song RESPECT? Each one of the versions had a different message and demonstrated what they believed to be the best way to get the respect they had desired. Let’s take a moment to point out a stark difference between the two versions. We will use these two songs to illustrate how to become a leader that people respect.

What Not to Do to Gain Respect

In 1965 the first version of RESPECT, by Otis Redding, came to the stage. When you listen to Otis’s version you can pick up on the major difference of how respect is both defined and gained. In Redding’s version, he is sending a plea from a desperate man, who will give his woman anything she wants, begging her for the respect he deserves.

Otis doesn’t care if she does him wrong. He doesn’t care what she does as long as he gets his due respect when he brings money home. For Otis, as long as he provided the life she wanted, he demanded respect in return.

You can hear this in the opening words of his song:

What you want

Honey, you’ve got it

And what you need

Baby you’ve got it

All I’m asking


Is for a little respect when I come home

At first glance, these words seem harmless enough. They are of a man trying to earn his respect from a woman that he is in a relationship with. However, these words point out two ways that no longer work when trying to earn respect, especially as you’re learning how to become a leader.

1. Begging

People do not respect people who beg. A person who begs comes across as desperate and needy. It can grate on people’s nerves and be a bit annoying. Begging plays on a person’s emotions until the beggar obtains the desired outcome.

When people beg for respect, their self-esteem is low, or they have lost their sense of identity. It could be from living a life of abuse or rejection. Most often it stems from childhood. Then, as adults, it comes across as desperate, insecure, needy, or co-dependent.

It is hard to gain respect when you are a person who feels compelled to beg for it. That person deserves respect, as all people deserve love and respect. Yet, there is something inside of humanity that looks at begging as deficient.

In reality, there are only two responses that a person will have when they see this behavior. When they see someone begging, a person will either pity them or turn their head in disgust. What is fascinating is that neither response is about showing the person respect.

If you are wanting to learn how to become a leader, then begging is the number one thing you want to avoid.

2. Negotiating

People have no respect for other people using them to fulfill their agendas. When learning how to become a leader that people respect, I recommend you avoid bartering for it. When I negotiate for respect, I am trying to negotiate with you for something I don’t have. The implication is that I am trying to get you to give me respect when I don’t have respect for myself.

There is a huge difference between negotiating with respect and negotiating for respect. When I negotiate with respect, I am negotiating from a place of security. I am showing you the proper respect because it is flowing from a place of trust.

Without personal respect, respecting others becomes a struggle. Instead of negotiating for respect, we must move to negotiate with respect. If we, as leaders, negotiate for respect, we will lose it. The leader who loses respect loses their leverage, which causes you to lose any chance of a mutually beneficial outcome.


Negotiating from a healthy place can be an incredible tool in the leader’s toolbelt. Demonstrating a lack of self-respect removes all opportunity that the negotiation would provide.

Respected leaders are secure in themselves and look for ways to serve others. They drop the personal agenda and push to an agenda that is beneficial to all. If you are looking to learn how to become a leader that people respect, then negotiate with respect.

What to Do to Gain Respect

Standing in stark contrast to Otis’s version of RESPECT is Aretha’s version. Franklin’s version is a declaration from a strong, independent, and confident woman. She knows what she has and what she desires. The woman in the song meets the needs of the man she is singing about, and there is never a time when she does him wrong. In exchange for all this, all she is asking for is his respect.

What you want, baby, I got it

What you need, do you know I got it?

All I’m askin’ is for a little respect when you come home

I ain’t gonna do you wrong while you’re gone

Ain’t gon’ do you wrong ’cause I don’t wanna

Aretha gives us insight into what it takes to get the respect you desire. Unlike Otis, Aretha won’t beg for it. She demands it.

With her, there is only one real option. You will either respect her or you won’t be with her. She is willing to give her all to you, but in return, she expects an equal exchange. There will be no middle ground in what she asking for. You will respect her all the way or not at all.


Aretha’s version shows us that learning how to become a leader who is respected can be seen in two ways.

1. Mutual Exchange

To gain respect, we must first give it. There is a mutual level of equal exchange with respect. The principle of mutual exchange would say, “The level of respect that I demand from you I must also give to you.”

Respect isn’t a one-way street. When we demand it, we must also be willing to give it. Living at this level requires 3 things from us.


If you are a leader who wants to learn how to become a leader that people respect, then clarity is key. You must be clear on who you are, what you stand for, and what you are willing to allow into your life. If you are unclear on any of these then your ability to command respect will begin to diminish.

Be a leader who builds clarity and self-awareness so that people will respect you and what you stand for.


If clarity is the key, then confidence is the foundation. Have you ever held high respect for someone who showed a lack of confidence? There is something about confidence that attracts us to it like a moth to a flame. The more confidence a person has, the more we want to be around them.

To us, confidence will show whether we perceive a person to be weak or strong. Even though it may be a tough pill to swallow, respect goes to the strong.


People need to trust you before they respect you. If you want to learn how to become a leader that people respect, then you must develop a high level of consistency. Become a leader people can trust by becoming a leader who has a consistent pattern.

2. Mutual Understanding

The goal of any relationship is to learn to understand the other person. It is about understanding that we all share different beliefs and values. Yet, it is within these differences that we can find commonality and learn to appreciate and respect who we are as individuals. If we are to learn how to become a leader that people respect, then we must come to a place of mutual understanding.

Basic Leadership Truths

There are some simple truths you should be aware of as you seek to learn how to become a leader that people respect.


1. Respect Is Earned

As leaders, part of us wants to believe that respect is automatic. That may have been the case 20 years ago, but that is not the case today. We must always take the posture of mutual respect and understanding.

To gain, I must give and help people move to the next level in their growth and push them to be the best. These are ways to gain respect as you move up the ladder of leadership. Respect takes time, but with consistent effort, you can achieve a great deal.

2. Respect Comes as a Result of Who You Are

You have the potential and the ability to command respect because of who you are and what you do for people. Yet, if the person doesn’t give you the proper respect, that should never change who you are.

Your identity is not linked to how people feel about you. Your identity is about who you are. Respect is a result of how you interact with who they are.

The better you treat people, the more respect you will gain.

3. Respect Takes Time to Gain and Seconds to Lose

When searching for how to become a leader that people will respect, that is a lot of pressure to be under. Respect can take years to earn, but one wrong move can cause you to lose someone’s trust.

Throughout this process, don’t allow a need for approval and a fear of rejection to cause you to be anything other than who you were meant to be. Grow into a leader that will change lives, but live always according to your personal values.

Be a leader who is devoted to the development of your character. If someone wants to leave because they are intimidated by the best version of you, then let them go!

The Bottom Line

John C. Maxwell once said,

“When people respect someone as a person, they admire her. When they respect her as a friend, they love her. When they respect her as a leader, they follow her.”

As you learn how to be a leader, keep showing up, keeping pouring into yourself, and keep living with integrity. You may not see it now, but you are building something that will impact people for generations to come.

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Featured photo credit: TienDat Nguyen via


[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Earn Respect as a Leader

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Jim Burgoon

Founder of The Everyday Leader

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Last Updated on February 17, 2021

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

1. Set a Timer

Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

2. Eliminate All Distractions

Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

9. Don’t Multitask

Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.


For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

10. Step Away from the Computer

The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

11. Use Focus Tools

Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

12. Just Start

Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

13. Find out Your Productive Hours

Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

“Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!


Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

20. Get Plenty of Sleep

When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

21. Exercise

Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

22. Outsource as Much as Possible

If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

23. Set Some Exciting Goals

Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

25. Listen to Podcasts

Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

27. Learn to Speed Read

When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

28. Learn to Skip When You Read

When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.


30. Take a Break

You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

What is polyphasic sleep?

Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

32. Learn to Say “No”.

We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

33. Go on an Information Diet

Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

34. Organize Your Office

The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

35. Find a Mentor

By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive


39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

43. Take Shorter Showers

This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

45. Auto Pay Your Bills

How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

46. Shop Online

Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

49. Turn off the TV

The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

50. Use a Tivo or DVR

This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

More Time Management Tips

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[1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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