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Take care, TCB
Today we take a third look into qualities of leaders. Today we look at Respect…not just a great MoTown hit but also a critical aspect of leadership. Respect is another quality that separates managers from true leaders. Respect is one of those traits that is easily lost and difficult to gain. That truth applies to all people not just leaders. However, with those in leadership, the truth is even more pronounced. All you have to do to see that is just look at public figures. They may move along in relative anonymity (outside of their own jurisdiction) for years. However, it only takes a single misstep and they quickly become a national figure who is “embroiled” in a controversy that eventually claims their position.
Without respect from your followers you can never become an effective leader. I heard a great quote once about respect in leadership: “A leader without respect is apt to become like the groundskeeper at a cemetery; lots of people under him but nobody paying attention.” Followers who have not developed respect for their leader (or, even worse, who have lost their respect for the leader) tend to act and look like they are paying attention when the leader speaks. However, they rarely listen to anything except directions about moving forward. They ignore any comments about vision or personal comments. These same followers are also ones who, if the leadership is not changed, will be one of the first to look for alternate employment as soon as possible.
So, how do leaders (or rather those in leadership positions) gain the respect of their (assigned) followers? By creating open line of information exchange as mentioned in an earlier post. By truly living out an open-door policy for communication. By realizing that, most of the time, the end result is the key in a project and how a worker reaches that result is of comparatively little concern. In other words, unless the method that a worker uses to reach a goal either takes considerably longer or costs considerably more, allow the worker to use his/her preferred method rather than forcing another method on them to achieve the goal. Those who dictate methods rather than desired results are commonly referred to as “micro-managers”…not typically a positive nickname. However, the easiest way to garner respect from your workers/employees/followers is to follow the golden rule: “So, in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you.” If you treat people the way you hope to be treated, you will have a constant flow of respect and support.