My philosophy when it comes to respect for other individuals:
I don’t base my level of respect for others based on where they’ve been in life. Rather, tell me where you intend to go in life, and — most important of all — do things that are in keeping with where you saying you are trying to go. In the words of Emerson:
“What you are shouts so loudly in my ear that I don’t hear what you say.”
Your position in some organization means nothing to me. But your actions… well, those will determine whether or not I think you are a person of good character, worthy of being treated as a respected person and colleague.
Fortunately, I have found I’m not alone in this philosophy. Unfortunately, I’ve also found that there is an abundance of individuals in this world who think that simply by having a title or holding some position they are automatically worthy of respect and of being regarded as a professional while at the same time repeatedly doing things which show others they are not the least bit worthy of respect (or trust.) Heads up: the word “professional” can be used as either an adjective or a noun. In my book, the former is very telling; whereas, the latter is pretty much meaningless… unless you actually do things in a professional manner.