How to Gain the Respect of Your Bosses, Professors and Co-Workers

What type of person are you? The kind who solves problems, or who blames others? 

Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for and this is the WorkInSports podcast

Just a quick update before we get into today’s topic on being the type of employee that your bosses respect, your professors admire and your co-workers rely on.

We’ve had a ton of new people joining our private facebook group this week, which is awesome, we’re up to about 500 people now who are seriously interested in networking, sharing advice, asking questions and leaning on our expert guests – yeah you heard that right, many of our expert guests who you have listened to, like Chris Valente Director of Sales for the Boston Red Sox, Carl Manteau, Sr, Director of group Sales with the Milwaukee Bucks, Gina Miller, VP of Content and Communication for FC Dallas, Loretta Kerner Community relations manager with the San Antonio Spurs, Mike Judge Recruiter and Inside Sales Manager with the Cleveland Browns…. They are in the group, sharing and answering questions. It’s really cool.

Here’s the deal --- I ask three very simple questions in order for you to enter the group. What is you favorite episode, who would you like to see as a guest in the future, and have you given us a positive review yet.

Now, I do that just to make sure you are a real person. You could literally say, I haven’t listened to an episode yet, I think you should get Kobe Bryant as a guest and I haven’t given you a review yet… and this would prove to me you are a real person and I would let you in.

The reason I bring this up, is because there is a queue of 83 people right now, who asked to get into the group, but didn’t answer my simple questions. So I don’t know you are legit.

Answer the questions, that’s how you get in.

I also wanted to quickly promote next weeks guest --- I have Scott Rego Head Equipment Manager for the Philadelphia 76ers coming on the show, and I’m very excited because Scott has been doing this for over 20 years…and has a ton to share about the industry.

So tune into that episode on Wednesday – if you haven’t listened to this weeks interview with jack mills, agent to baker Mayfield, you are nuts. Even if you don’t want to be an agent, Jack has been in the sports industry for 50 years and shares so much advice, you really don’t want to miss it.

Ok, on to today’s question.

“Hi Brian, this is Cherie from Boston, I love the podcast and am so happy to submit a question to you.   I’ve heard so many people on your show talk about the soft skill they look for in employees, that “it” factor. You’ve mentioned many times that you managed a large staff, what do you personally look for when hiring?”

Cherie – great to have your question, because I love talking about my views. No, that didn’t come out right sounded a little narcissistic, let me rephrase, I love sharing and helping.

I’m going to take this to a very macro discussion to start.

For the first 8 years of my career I was what you would call an individual contributor.

Then I was applying for a job with Fox Sports Northwest as a Coordinating producer where I would manage a staff of 8, eventually I would become news director and have a staff of 35.


I believe in a “Solve the Problem” mindset. Most of the people you meet in life are blamers, something goes wrong for them and they look for someone to pin the blame on.

This happened because “they’ did something.

I didn’t get an A on the test because my coach had practice go too late.

I didn’t get the star in the play because the teacher likes them better.

I didn’t get the job because the applicant tracking system is biased.

I didn’t get a promotion because they are better at kissing ass.

I hate that stuff. I really, really, really despise blamers.

You will face problems throughout your life, you can blame someone else for their existence, or you can go to work figuring out solutions.

So let me run out a scenario that isn’t “real” per se, but could happen daily:

We have a live post-game TV show after a baseball game, and as the show goes live the reporter grabs a player for a post game interview and we during our live broadcast put up the wrong players name.

The next day I bring the people into my office to discuss what happened wrong.

Person A says “well they didn’t get me the information I needed to do my job, it’s their fault!

Person B says, it was a breakdown in process, we are coming up with a manner to be more effective in getting the correct information, I’ll have a plan for you to review later today.

Who do you think is going to impress the boss?  

It’s the person who sees the problem, identifies it, and creates a solution to fix it, or to at least come up with some creative ways to solve it long term.

I had a rule in our newsroom, if you were coming to me with a problem, I want you to present two ideas you have to fix it, and then I’ll share my thoughts.

This forced everyone to think toward solutions. I’d have assignment editors that would come into my office and say I have reporter A at this event, and I just got word we need to cover this other event!

I’d say – ok what are your ideas.

Now, I’ll be honest at the beginning they’d present two ideas, and I’d end up giving them a totally different answer, option 3.

But over time, they became better problem solvers…and could think their way out of problems. No blame, no panic – solutions.

This is the staff I wanted, I lean mean machine of people who could activate their brain and solve problems on the fly. No blamers, fixers.

They had my respect. In the time since then, I have spoken to hundreds of employers in the sports industry and they all say the same thing – I want problem solvers.

That’s how you get the respect of your employers.

Now lets spin this forward – when you play basketball, there is always one player who is a little better than everyone else, right? Let’s say I’m the point guard and I know my guy Bryan Salmond is the best player on the court… I’m going to lean on him.

The same thing happens in the workplace. People naturally gravitate away from blamers and toward the solvers.

You become known for that, build you personal brand around that, and you will be the one people flock to for solutions and answers. You will be the one looked at for promotions.

If you are in college, take the same attitude, figure out solutions to problems, interact with your professors with ideas and questions, be known and a proactive thinker – and you’ll be the one with more internship opportunities, more volunteer events,

Be known as a doer and a solver and a fixer…and you’ll gain the respect of everyone around you. Be known as a blamer…and you’ll be popular in the break room around the other downers in the office.

So who do you want to be?

By Brian Clapp | June 01, 2018
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