Know the position you’re, your relationship to others around, above, and below you, and respect the entire structure. Some things you can easily say to others, but some things you can’t. Some things it’s best to allow others to say to you in whatever manner they do; it’s best to give more leeway to those below you, holding those above you to structure-wide procedure and expecting nothing more.
It’s overbearing for a teacher to use friendly-jousting humor against students. It’s out of place for a boss to make jokes about employees. It’s out of place for a parent to tease children about romance. It is equally out of place for any leader to mislabel painfully honest feedback from subordinates as “disrespect”.
While in the seat of the subordinate, some level of respect is in order, but there is much more freedom to be honest from the seat of the subordinate. Children, students, subordinates, and employees should be allowed to speak candidly, giving priority to obedience over tone. The best way to have those below you give respect is to give respect to them.
Brutal honesty from a superior is threatening, but a subordinate can do little harm. When in the place of power, reprove people gently and allow others to express themselves in return. If you are the subordinate and hope to lead, practice being both candid and respectful; practice for the role by conducting yourself as if you were already there.
By Jesus entering into our world through a barn, he position himself to sit in every seat available. Being a baby was the only appropriate way for God to vomit on mortals, any other way would insult. If Jesus had spoken one word of rebuke on the road to Calvary it would have been overbearing. Leaders can take it, but not always give it.
Yet, in the position of weakness, it might be wise to hold your tongue and live to see another day. When things got bad among the Philistines, David drooled on his beard in order to lower his “status” so as to be less able to offend and thereby escape harm. Whatever seat you are in, know where you sit.