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Do you inspire respect?

  • Published
  • By By Bradley T. Neff, Equal Opportunity Specialist
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Equal Opportunity office

“Respect is the key determinant of high-performance leadership. How much people respect you determines how well they perform,” said motivational speaker Brian Tracy.  

Respect is a critical value in the Department of Defense and respect begets respect in the civilian sector as well, and Air Force policy reminds us that the welfare of our Airmen is our most important priority. 

We all must be fully committed to ensuring that all members are provided the dignity and respect they so rightfully deserve. From an Equal Opportunity perspective, DoD policy is simple: unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated or condoned by anyone! Respecting others without judging them based on their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age, or disability ensures a working and loving environment free of hostility, and promotes trust, respect and dignity.    

If we all lived by the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," we would live and work in a more harmonious place. Also called the “ethic of reciprocity,” variations of this moral concept can be found in many religions and traced throughout history. In each case, the underlying theme is that one should treat other people with kindness and respect. 

From a military perspective, respect and leadership go together. You cannot have one without the other. Respect is also a form of admiration. Individual traits or qualities that make people good or decent are points that can inspire admiration. Leaders who are well spoken, present a sharp appearance, are dedicated to mission accomplishment and sincerely care for their workers, earn respect from their peers and subordinates alike.


One way to earn respect is to develop the traits in yourself that you admire in others. We typically respect others who are honest, loyal, or have a strong work ethic, and those who have had successful careers. Earning respect may encourage others to follow you. Getting people to follow you willingly is a key point to leadership. Most people want to be part of a winning team and achieve something special. If people admire you and think that you have something special to offer, they may be much more receptive to joining the team and contributing to the mission’s success.


When our Airmen feel valued, trusted and respected in their organization, they are more likely to be innovative, solution oriented and results directed. To succeed in meeting current and future mission requirements, the Air Force relies on access to the best talent our nation has to offer. 


To compete for that talent in the future, we must place consistent emphasis on diversity and inclusion in order to attract and retain talent from an increasingly diverse population. Increasing levels of respect for our Airmen will not only foster success, but will improve morale, increase retention, and enhance job satisfaction. So…Do you inspire respect?