When you think of the word ‘respect’, what pops into your mind first? Do you think of being a child again, and showing respect to your elders? Or being kind and inviting someone to share their troubles? Or perhaps letting someone walk through a door you have opened? Respect may mean something slightly different to each of us, but without a doubt, respect is a cornerstone of leadership.

What do most people want at work? In a recent study designed to help organisations determine how to recruit and promote women, male and female participants were asked about what would make an ideal workplace. People from organisations with more female workers rated their companies more favourably regarding engagement and job satisfaction. Women in the study reported that they wanted leadership opportunities with the support and respect needed to successfully make these transitions.1

Respect In The Workplace Lays 
The Foundation For Success

A workplace without respect is usually fairly easy to spot. People probably don’t contribute many ideas, they may not speak up when problems arise and they may be constantly searching for a way out. When leaders do not treat their employees and peers with respect, the entire foundation becomes wobbly, putting the organisation at risk. 

If we want to influence others to work with us or to complete projects for us, it’s important to remember the old English proverb, ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar’. When we are polite and respectful to others, people will be more willing to work with us, and even to take risks with us. A sour, disrespectful boss will only accumulate empty chairs as people move on to better opportunities. 

Respect, in its purest essence, begins from within. If we do not respect ourselves as individuals, as beings worthy of happiness and joy, we will not be able to properly respect others. Believing in yourself is the first step to creating a respectful environment for others. When we are full of doubt, others see this. When we are second-guessing ourselves, we have lost our agility. We have lost the ability to inspire and influence others to see the visions of greatness which may exist only in our brains. 

When you start loving yourself and respecting your time and energy, things will change. Get to know your worth, and your value will go up. 

Germany Kent

Finding Self-Respect To Create 
An Environment Of Positivity

If the key to respecting others begins from within, how can we improve our own state of mind? How can we change bad habits? Fortunately, our brains are plastic, which means they have a great capacity to change. It’s never too late to teach an old dog (or leader) a new trick, no matter how stubborn or set in our ways we may become. 

To improve self-respect, consider:

  • Taking proper care of your body: Are you eating the right foods? Drinking enough water? Getting enough sleep? Our bodies only work well when we take care of them. Leaders who push and push without respecting their bodies will inevitably falter.
  • Meditation: Science has shown how helpful meditation and yoga can be for our minds and bodies. Meditation can help manage stress, which can significantly impact our health. 
  • Relaxing and taking time for yourself: When leaders work until they drop, agility will begin to suffer. A brain which is constantly racing is not going to think of innovative ideas, and this kind of brain will not be able to react quickly as situations evolve. 

When we respect ourselves, we can be respectful towards others. When leaders focus on more than numbers on a report, we can create better environments for ourselves (and people around us!) to thrive. 

The Imagination Age is here. Do you influence others to share your goals and dreams? Are you agile enough to adapt to rapidly changing conditions? A neuroleader has a healthy brain and body and can overcome challenges while inspiring others to accomplish more than ever possible. Learn more about becoming a neuroleader and the i4 Neuroleader Methodology today!


1. Clerkin C. What Women Want--And Why You Want Women--In the Workplace. Research Report. Center for Creative Leadership,  (2017, accessed 23 February 2020).

Originally posted on: 26 March 2020
Last updated on: 12 April 2024

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Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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