All I Want is Just a Little Respect

Aretha Franklin speaks for everyone when she sings, “All I want is just a little respect.”

Don’t poke dogs and expect them to kiss you. 

The song, “Respect,” was written by Otis Redding. He released it in 1965, but Aretha Franklin’s version, released on her debut album in 1967, rocketed her to fame.

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”

Give respect:

Respect is given. The person giving respect is making a decision to show regard, admiration, and honor.

Rise above the tendency to withhold all respect because you find some fault. 

Search for opportunities to show respect. You lose when imperfections in one area are reasons to withhold respect in all areas. If you can’t find something to respect about the people around you, you’re on the wrong team.

Three truths:


Disrespect devalues. Giving respect is letting someone know you value something about their character, behavior, or achievements. I use “or” in the previous sentence because you could respect someone’s character, even if they were an underachiever, for example.

Respect expresses positive regard.


Disrespect looks down on. Giving respect occurs when you show appreciation. You might say, “I appreciate you.” Or, “I appreciate that you did xyz.”


Disrespect discredits. Respect is noticing a distinguishing quality. “You’re one of our most reliable team members.” You don’t have to say, “You’re more reliable than Bob.”

Three respect tips:

  1. Work with those you respect and those who respect you.
  2. Ask people what makes them feel respected. Unexpressed respect is untapped energy.
  3. Disagree with respect.

Respect project:

Record five things you admire about each member of your team. If this sounds difficult, you’re a respect deficit leader.

Disrespect drains people. Respect energizes them.

What prevents leaders from showing respect?

How might leaders show respect today?