I disagree. Respect is something you choose to give. It is not based on achievement. It is not based on personality. Respect is given because you value people. Inherently.
A position may be earned. A title. Leadership. However, respect is something that we choose to give.
People who are respected tend to behave in a manner worthy of how they are being treated. Obviously, that is not universal, but it is common enough to be worth noting. If you want people to behave well and treat others around you with kindness and gentleness, then treat them well. Do unto others…
There is another misconception about respect. Sometimes, people get the idea that one must always agree when showing respect. That is not true. It is very possible, and fruitful, to disagree and even argue in a manner that demonstrates politeness and consideration. If you value someone, you will want to tell them the truth. You will want to share your opinions with them honestly and completely. That can be done without berating the person, without insulting them or their opinions, and without causing hurt, guilt or shame.
It disappoints me when I hear people say, “I don’t respect the position, the uniform, or the title. If this guy wants my respect, he will have to earn it.” Additional, special respect may be earned by those who excel at something. However, this is not the foundation. We start by treating all people well with a base level of respect for their humanity, but we may find there are some who represent ideals in life that we wish to strive for ourselves, and who we wish to honor further. That is what “earning respect” is all about. It’s additive.
If someone needs to earn basic human respect from you, then you do not actually respect the person, you are only respecting their achievement, talent, or attributes. If you respect a person, you choose to do so without regard to what they have or have not done. Respecting their achievement, talent, or attributes is another thing entirely, and while this is not bad, it has very little to do with respecting the actual person.