Leadership and respect

Posted by Roxanne Chugg

Would your team say that you are a leader worthy of their respect? Do you believe that they truly want to follow you? Do you look for leadership attributes during your recruitment and selection or do you just look for a person with the right skill set?

During my 21 years working with leading organisations in Australia and South East Asia I've seen and worked with many inspiring leaders who have taught me so much and who I genuinely admire and respect. Others, well not so much...

The value of respect is very different other attributes such as motivation and inspiration e.g. Employees can be motivated and inspired even when they have an ineffective leader – they just need to source their motivation and inspiration somewhere else; this could be inside or outside your organisation. The issue of respect, though, is a different story. Respect has to be earned; you can't just tell your team that they need to respect you and be respectful to and of each other.  They will watch your behaviour and learn from you.

Here are some ways you can behave to "walk the talk" when leading your team to earn and maintain their respect:

  • Behave with integrity:  This means telling the truth, having difficult conversations to correct behaviour, keeping your promises, making fair decisions, and respecting each individual.  
  • Behave with humility:  This means forgiving your employees when they make mistakes; focusing instead on the lesson learnt from the mistake, keeping that ego in check, doing things for your team without expecting anything in return and sacrificing personal gain for the benefit of your team.
  • Be interested:  This means genuinely caring for your people; being compassionate and generous, seeing their role as a resource to help the team achieve its desired outcomes and potential
  • Be thankful: This means remembering to say "thank you"; recognising efforts that go above and beyond the call of duty and genuinely appreciating the efforts of your team
  • Be competent:  This means being influential, bold and capable. Creating the vision, collaborating to set goals and leading the way for your team and staying calm in a crisis
  • Ensure emotional intelligence - Be aware of your strengths, weaknesses and the impact you and your behaviour have on others
  • Walk the talk: This means paying more than just lip service to your behaviour and the expected behaviour of your team. Be a person your employees wish to be like.

So… do you believe your employees would say you are a leader worthy of being followed?