We all want to have the kind of impact that catalyzes meaningful, bar-raising results.
In order to have impact we first need to possess influence.
And in order to gain influence we must first have the respect of others.
If the door into creating unprecedented results is opened through the key of earning (and keeping) the respect of our colleagues and followers, then we should pay close attention to how leaders build (and lose) this critical asset – RESPECT.
As we know, it’s a slower process to earn respect, and a quick slide to see it vanish. The trouble is, we rarely see (or hear) the loss of respect happen.
Human beings have a tremendous in-born capacity for self-deception. We tend to carry on seeing ourselves the same way after perception-damaging situations, while others quickly rearrange their idea of us and say nothing.
This quiet place of unspoken disappointment is the slow deathbed of our impact, personal brand, and ultimate legacy.
When we lose sight of the preciousness and fragility of peoples‘ respect of us (usually because we’ve become results-obsessed) it’s destined to culminate in breakdown, burnout, and allies-turned-critics.
In the pursuit of greater, better, and more, we need rabid supporters more than ever.
So when you are feeling the pressure and intensity of all you want to achieve, don’t forget to remember that the key to all you want is only given to those who lead in respect-worthy ways.
The attached short articles spotlight the quickest ways to the heart of someone’s respect, and the shockingly simple ways to blow it up when you’re simply not paying attention to paying attention.
A few of my bulletproof tips for garnering and safeguarding this critical asset are:
When you’ve been calling the shots for a while you can become desensitized to the implications of what you ask or expect of others, and what that will require from their end.
Whether it’s resourcing, time management, demands on their personal time, or difficult conversations to be had… go around the table in your mind and sit in that request/expectation from the other person’s vantage point and thoughtfully consider their considerations.
What does your voice sound like in their ears? How would they describe you when they go home at night to their significant other?
Doing this “go to the other side of the table” exercise will help you demonstrate in what you say to them that you respected them enough in advance to be thoughtful about what you’re asking, and you can provide some helpful suggestions or options to assist with what they’ll face in achieving it. Respect shown is respect earned.
It’s a common bad habit for leaders to expect what they do not give. Such as demanding fast and consistent communication from others, while deprioritizing others need-to-know and failing to respond to questions or concerns in a timely way.
The quickest way to lose someone’s respect is to cause others to believe it’s the you-show, a one-way street where you get what you need, and they learn to expect it won’t go both ways.
It’s okay and perfectly normal if you can’t be accessible all the time. If you’re going to be unavailable, make sure to let your team know beforehand so they’re not caught off guard scrambling to figure out what they need. Create predictability as often as you can.
If we’ve been working with the same people for a while, we can forget to remember to be careful about how and what we say and do.
It’s easy to take advantage of familiarity, and to get comfortable with others letting you off the hook when you’re not demonstrating best-self behaviors.
Don’t misuse the gift of people’s grace, acceptance, and willingness to look past things. Just because we hold positions of power and authority doesn’t mean we will have their respect.
If you’re not perpetually careful, you’ll erode their respect into eye-rolling tolerance and become a model of what-not-to-do leadership.
Bring your best to others, and they’ll stay crazy loyal. And they’ll be your best evangelizers to draw top talent to your team.
It doesn’t matter what you say if your actions don’t prove it. When we are focused on vision casting and being inspirational, we often speak from our truest motives and feelings. And people rise and rally around that contagious energy.
But when the pressure is on, or maybe the stakes feel low, we can behave in a way that can come across as hypocritical or insincere to the core message we’ve been preaching. Authenticity is your reward for living what you stand for.
So, beware of sending mixed messages between your actions and your words. People are skeptical by nature and always watching to see who is the real you. Ask yourself, do others see in me the real deal, or someone who inspires others but doesn’t live it?
Don’t lose sight of the fact that who you are is evidenced in the daily and weekly minutiae, not the main stage moments.
If you make being a respect-worthy leader a guiding priority of your life, you’ll achieve far more than what you set out to do. And equally importantly, you’ll cause others to feel respected by you, and that my friend, is truly meaningful impact.
9 Leadership Behaviors That Lose Employee Trust and Respect
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“As our organizations grow, it’s easy for us to get disconnected from our employees. We have to be intentional about creating appreciation strategies. It takes the entire system to make the company function well, and we must constantly be re-recruiting our talent internally to keep everyone engaged through gratitude and appreciation.”
7 Things the Most Respected Leaders Do Every Day
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“While you can’t control other people’s opinions, you can always control your own actions. Respect takes time and effort—it’s not something you’re given but something you earn. Here are six top ways that the best leaders earn respect every day:”