This simple term has a very significant meaning. Sometimes it could be confused with something else. When somebody who occupies a high position, the confusion could be deeper. When people smile at him or her, is it because of the chair he or she occupies or the smile is genuine from their hearts due to respect?
We could google the meaning of respect but most of the description revolves around a positive feeling towards a person due to the person's actual quality. Positive feelings could be demonstrated by a simple smile or more fanatic actions. This is where the problem lies, those actions could be manufactured. The more the power a person has, there could be more tendencies where people around him, especially those who could benefit from him or her, to fake respect.
In certain circumstances, a leader for example, don't mind if people around him fake their actions as if they respect him honestly. In situations where popularity matters, such misleading conducts would be helpful. What more when the leader himself is a weak person but, instead of working on elements that will make him or her strong, the leader focuses on managing people's perception instead. If the leader is in control of unlimited resources, these resources could be disposed to create a resemblance of artificial respect to convince continued support towards him or her.
Unfortunately, while the more liberal information regime provides more opportunity for the mass to be educated and informed, it also provides many platform to manufacture fake respect. A combination of offering goodies and heavy usage of propaganda could be an effective respect faking tools. This is even more useful in a society that is less sceptical, especially when power distance is strong.
I strongly believe respect is an important element in leadership. It has to be based on real performance, build on honesty and integrity as the critical foundation. In a challenging environment, these qualities would differentiate the real from the fake. More importantly, they could influence the performance and outcomes of the conducts and decisions of a leader.
So, exercise scepticism before we offer somebody our respect.