EditorialsLeadership

Respect is an integral part of leadership that must be earned

Published by The Nashville Business Journal

True leaders are respected and admired people. They have the confidence to build strong teams and motivate others to achieve. Do you know how they get to this position? They earn it. You too will earn respect and admiration from your team by focusing on one simple yet effective karmic approach: showing respect for those around you.

Get personal – Get to know a little about your teammates and show some genuine interest in their lives. Basic mutual respect is as simple as starting each day with a thoughtful “good morning.”

Interpersonal inquiries like, “How did Johnny do in his ball game yesterday?”,  or “How is your mother recovering from her knee surgery?” go a long way in earning respect from the people you lead. Never underestimate the impact of the personal touch in building real team spirit.

Always engage –  We always have to get down to the business of business – and this is a perfect opportunity to earn greater respect from your team. Before you pass out assignments, take just a few minutes to engage your team around the business plan and objectives. Ask for comments and have a lively discussion.

One individual idea can really make a difference. When people are involved on the front end of a project they will more clearly understand goals and objectives. And when a team is engaged early on you often see a stronger sense of commitment and achieve better results in the end.

Common courtesy – What may sound like common sense is often ignored in the business world. The shortest way to earning respect is by regularly using three little words: “please” and “thank you.”

Tacking on please to any request = large or small – quickly gives the tone of the conversation a positive spin. When a task is completed, a hearty “thank you” goes a long way.

Pay attention – Another simple but powerful respect builder: Pay attention when people try to talk to you. In today’s environment of instant 24/7 communication, focusing is easier said than done.

It takes a strong commitment on your part to really concentrate on each visitor, but you earn deep respect when you give others your full attention. Shut off the phone, physically move away from your computer (or at least ignore it), look your visitor in the eye and really listen.

To be effective, leaders need followers. When you show sincere interest in your people they will gain respect for your leadership. When you demonstrate courtesy and compassion, you will earn their admiration.

It’s not complicated: treat others with respect and in turn they will respect you.

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