Respect is seldom inherently bestowed upon a person automatically. Respect must be earned.

Within any organization there is a hierarchy, a chain of command, from the president or CEO down to the lowest, everyday employee. There are management levels within every rung on the corporate ladder. You have to work hard to get promoted to that next position and you may run into a boss along the way that you don’t see eye to eye with.

One of the most difficult things to do in the business or academic world is to respect a person you dislike or don’t get along with. It is pretty easy to disrespect a professor when you get a D in a class. Human nature is to hold a person in contempt who makes you do something you don’t want to do.

It is these relationships, however, that truly test a person’s character. We must be able to set aside personal differences and accept that bosses and professors are our superiors. He or she should be treated with respect no matter what the situation because he or she has earned it. Your boss is in charge because he or she is, in most cases, is more qualified than you and has earned his or her title.

Your professor has a college degree in education or in his or her particular field and knows more about the subject than students do. Managers and directors have technical skills and management skills and deserve respect. A generation gap may exist between you and your boss and while it may not seem like it, your boss has put in his or her time just like you are doing right now.

Professors and supervisors can lose credibility and the respect of their subordinates. Respect must be earned and likewise must be maintained. Credibility can be ruined and respect lost in an instant by belittling an employee or by acting in an unethical or inappropriate manner.

Respect is a give and take process. A boss may not owe you anything and may not be forced to show respect to his or her subordinate. Without first showing respect, a person should certainly not expect to receive it. n