Wednesday, May 23, 2012

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Tell Me What You Think of Me

Respect and Leadership go together.  You can't have real leadership without respect.  One can lead from position without respect, but a leadership position does not necessarily mean the holder of that position is a leader.  Dictators rely on violence and powering up on people to get them to do what they want them to do.  That’s not really leadership.  The mark of a real leader is when people choose to follow a leader because they respect him/her and in turn he/she respects them.   When leaders show respect for others - they gain respect from others.

In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell says “gaining respect from others follows a pattern:

When people respect you as a person, they admire you.
When people respect you as a friend, they love you.
When people respect you as a leader, they will follow you.

It is wonderful when the people respect their leader, but it is even more wonderful when the leader respects his people.  The first and most important area of leadership is to show respect to others around you.

Earning Respect
One cannot demand respect.  Respect must be earned and that takes time.  Let me repeat this - Respect must be earned.  It is not given freely.  People don’t follow others by accident.  They follow individuals they respect.  One way to earn respect is to develop the traits in yourself that you admire in others.  Think about whom you respect and why?  Most people respect others that are honest, hard working, and are others centered.

I believe that one of the greatest sources of respect for a leader comes from his or her commitment to adding value to others.  This one thing is sure - followers value leaders who add value to them.  Great leaders will inspire respect in others by being a great example of showing respect.

Just as leadership and respect go together, so do success and respect go hand in hand.  My favorite definition of success is this: Success is having those closest to me love and respect me the most.  This would include my family but also those with whom I work every day.