I have worked with many new managers that feel their new titles should earn them respect from their staff. They couldn’t be more wrong. Too many leaders still believe that they are owed and/or command some level of (unearned) respect just because of their position in an organization.
In our environment today, leaders must change their state of mind and become more responsible with their actions and accountable for the effect their influence has on their employees and, the organization.
Leaders need to become more mindful of how they are leading mindful of how they are leading others and how they are being perceived.
I am always respectful of someone’s position of authority and responsibility. However, it doesn’t mean that I necessarily respect “the person” behind the title. Respect, trust and loyalty are earned over time. Ultimately, it is the quality, consistency and presence of one’s character that makes me respect a leader.
When you think of great leaders who are honored and respected, they weren’t always necessarily well-liked. But they were respected for how they led and made those around them better. Over time this earned respect in a positive manner and secured their place in history (e.g. Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs)
Today’s uncertain workplace requires leaders to pay close attention to others. Leaders must be active and attentive listeners, practice patience, appreciate the unique talents and capabilities of their colleagues, and be noticeably grateful for the effort and performance of their teams. People are carefully observing their leaders, looking for reasons not to trust them (because they have been burned so many times in the past), but ultimately wanting their leaders to be worthy of their respect and loyalty. Unfortunately, leaders often make this task difficult as many of them are not naturally wired to lead, or emotionally intelligent enough to be aware of the consequences of their insensitive leadership style and demeanor.
Actions are stronger than words, and this is personified by the respected leader. These leaders set the tone and are huge role models. The tangible and measurable results of their consistent work ethic influence new best practices and cultivate innovation. Ultimately, their leadership defines the performance culture for the organization. They set the standard and leave behind an indelible impact.
Are you that leader?