Earning Respect - 13 May 2014
If your employees were asked whether you as a leader were worthy of being followed, what would they say? That’s a serious question to ponder because it gets to the heart of how much they respect you. Do they genuinely want to follow you or are they merely in your team because they have no other choice?
The concept of respect is very different to other terms such as motivation and inspiration. Employees, for example, can be motivated and inspired even when they have an average leader – they just need to (unfortunately) source their motivation and inspiration from elsewhere within the organisation. The issue of respect, though, can’t be relegated someplace else. It’s yours and yours alone to earn.
A new study in the Journal of Psychology outlines five ways in which leaders can do that.
Integrity: Worthy leaders demonstrate integrity by telling the truth, keeping their promises, making fair decisions, and respecting each individual.
Humility and forgiveness: Worthy leaders forgive employees when they make mistakes, finding instead a lesson to teach from the error. They’re benevolent rather than egocentric, sacrificing personal gain for the benefit of the team.
Interest and gratitude: Worthy leaders genuinely care. They’re compassionate and generous, seeing their role as a resource to help the team become more successful.
Competence: Worthy leaders are credible, influential and capable. They have a track record of success admired by staff members and colleagues.
Role models: Worthy leaders display actions that are congruent with their words. Employees see them not just as bosses but as people they want to emulate.
So let’s return to the question that began today’s newsletter. Would your employees, upon being asked, say you were a leader worthy of being followed?
The answer to that question will determine whether the people in your team are genuine followers or whether they’re merely subordinates craving a better opportunity.
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