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Have you ever been in a room with someone who commanded respect? They spoke in a self-assured way, and held themselves with confidence. When this person said something, people listened and took their ideas seriously. They seemed to be the very embodiment of confidence.

That self-assured person was probably able to command the respect of others because they respected themselves. When you show yourself a bit of self-love and appreciation, you demonstrate that you’re worthy of respect.

In short, respect starts with YOU. Before you can earn respect from other people, you need to learn to respect yourself. Respect is about understanding your own worth and appreciating your own values. This doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Everyone has flaws, but the way you handle those flaws clearly demonstrates whether you respect yourself or not.

An insecure or anxious person will dwell on their personal faults, but a person who respects themselves will simply acknowledge their shortcomings (if necessary) and move on.

To start building personal respect, try any or all of the following 6 steps:

1. Start improving your self-esteem.

Take some time to recognize your good qualities and accomplishments. Think of how capable you are of achieving your goals, and how you can use your strengths to benefit yourself and others.

Once you’ve built up your self-respect, you can work on expressing it outwardly. Speak positively about yourself and show gratitude for the successes and accomplishments you’ve achieved. Be proud of who you are!

2. Know your limits.

Respect yourself by recognizing your limitations and being honest about your capabilities. If you know you don’t have the time or capacity to take on a project, say “no.” If you’re tired of answering emails after hours, draw a line in the sand and stick to your policy. (Read more about setting healthy boundaries.)

3. Seek meaningful relationships.

Prioritize relationships that are supportive, positive, and beneficial. Respect yourself by rejecting interactions that don’t serve you emotionally.

4. Find your own happiness.

People who respect themselves don’t rely on the approval of others. Instead, they seek out their own sources of happiness and satisfaction. Define your own values and work to live according to them.

5. Make healthy choices.

Respect yourself by making choices that are in your best interest. You don’t always have to say “yes” to be liked, and you don’t have to please everyone. Reject things that aren’t in alignment with your objectives, values, or vision.

6. Forgive your mistakes.

Nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay! Respect yourself by not getting too bogged down by mistakes or failures. An essential part of respecting yourself is being kind to your mistakes and being willing to learn from them.

In conclusion, respect starts with YOU. Show yourself respect, and others will follow suit. Learn to accept yourself, practice self-love, and set boundaries that protect your own well-being. When you start to respect yourself, others will take notice and show you the same respect in turn.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE.

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If I asked you to picture some friends you haven’t talked to in a while, could you think of a few people? Maybe several? These could be work colleagues, friends from college (or even high school), or friends you made during a certain period of your life—maybe another parent who was also involved in Little League or a school play. As life goes on, we inevitably connect with others…and often let those connections slip.

Is there anyone you’d like to reconnect with? Someone you think about often and wonder how they’re doing?

If so, I encourage you to reach out! According to research described in Daniel Pink’s short video, reconnecting is NOT as awkward as you might think!

Studies show that when you send a message or call someone with whom you haven’t spoken in some time, that person often appreciates the effort. It’s usually not awkward; it’s a nice surprise! The person will be flattered that you thought to contact them, and you just might make someone’s day.

Another reason to reach out: Far more adults are lonelier than you might realize. An incredible 35 percent of adults aged 45 and older, and 43 percent of adults aged 60 and older, report feeling lonely on a regular basis. If you feel like meeting with someone for coffee, your invitation might be very welcome, or even much-needed.

Reconnecting with old friends is also a low-stakes way to let others know you care. Even if you don’t end up getting together in person, the fact that you’re communicating online or over the phone is something. It is a thread that helps strengthen and maintain your relationship—and you never know when you may need each other (for professional guidance, personal support, or as a bridge to another person).

So, if you’re debating about whether or not to call your old college roommate, send an email to a favorite former co-worker, or mail a birthday card to an old friend, debate no longer! Set aside any reservations, and just do it. Unless your relationship ended horribly, there is very little risk involved in reaching out. And you never know—you just might reestablish a friendship.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE.

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It is possible to be a good manager if you simply go through the motions, do your work, and field any issues that crop up. But what distinguishes a good manager from a great one? How can you step up your leadership game so that people see you as a trustworthy role model and a motivator?

There are a few crucial traits that separate good and great managers. If you feel that some of these traits are underdeveloped, that’s okay! It is possible to consciously work on these areas to grow and improve your leadership.

Here are 5 crucial traits of great managers:

1. They are excellent listeners

A good listener is an active listener. They pay attention when others are talking—not just to the words, but also to tone of voice, vocal inflections, and facial expressions. An active listener maintains an open mind and asks good questions. They are curious and genuinely want to understand the speaker’s point of view.

Active listening demonstrates that you care. You don’t brush aside others’ perspectives; rather, you open yourself to new ideas, opinions, and viewpoints. You take a genuine interest in what others have to say, and then apply what you’ve learned. Great managers truly listen.

2. They set clear expectations

Top managers are usually excellent communicators. Their expectations are never a mystery because they clearly and openly communicate with their team. As a manager, it is important to articulate goals, set deadlines, and deliver any relevant information. It is also important to hold everyone accountable for their work. If expectations are not met, it is up to the manager to find out why and either re-strategize or (in some cases) enact consequences.

3. They involve their team

Great managers understand that they do not have all the answers. They also understand that it is imperative to engage their team every step of the way. If a team is highly involved in a project (from initiation to implementation), they will have a personal stake in the project’s success. Additionally, this kind of involvement keeps people active and motivated.

As a manager, be sure to invite all thoughts and ideas when you’re embarking on a new project. Innovation is only possible if we dare to listen to a diverse array of voices. As long as the goals are clear, trust your team to define their own path.

4. They are adaptable

Businesses and markets can change in the blink of an eye. A capable manager rolls with the punches and isn’t afraid to change course. If something isn’t working—or if it’s clear that the company needs to head in a different direction—dare to confront the problems at hand and make changes. You do not, of course, have to re-strategize on your own. That’s where your team can come into play (see point 3!)

5. They foster trust

No one likes a micro-manager. No one thrives when they feel like their superior is constantly looking over their shoulder, monitoring their every move. Dare to take a step back and give your team some breathing room! As long as you set clear expectations and create a culture of accountability, does it really matter what your employees do on a given day? If someone consistently produces quality work, does it matter if they head to the gym for an hour each afternoon? (Incidentally, taking meaningful breaks can actually boost productivity!). If your team is engaged, making good progress (which you can track through reports or regular meetings), and regularly producing good results, then it’s wise to take a step back and let the little things go.

Another aspect of trust has to do with holding regular one-on-one check-ins with your team members. These check-ins can be used to gauge progress, but their primary purpose should be to get to know your team, listen to their thoughts or grievances, and offer whatever support you can. Encourage an open dialogue, and make sure to keep any personal information strictly confidential. Trust might not happen overnight, but with each conversation and each action that shows you care, you will build it.

There is a definite line between good managers and great ones. Do you need to develop some of the 5 traits of a great manager? If so, pick one area and focus on that for the next month. Then, pick another area to develop, then another. The most important aspect of becoming a better manager is YOU and the honest effort you make to improve and connect with your team.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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