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 January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:


Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.


It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.


Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.


    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via


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