Latest "A Recipe for Respect" Posts
In the previous two posts, we discussed the first two ingredients for earning leadership respect: consistency and making quality decisions. Assuming you master the art of consistency and quality decision making, I will admit that you will be well on your way to earning the respect of virtually everyone you encounter. And in all candor, with those two out of the three under your belt, you will already be farther down the road than most people ever get. But I’m working for more than that. Therefore, two out of three is simply not good enough. You’re not quite there yet. There’s still the issue of how leaders interact with others. Especially those who are different than us in some way.
Hopefully we can agree on the importance of consistency for leaders as an ingredient for earning respect. But as I mentioned in the previous newsletter, consistency alone will not win the day. Someone could be consistently wrong, consistently malicious or even consistently absent. Such consistent behavior might allow us to predict the future and prepare accordingly; but it would not earn respect. And again, in order to earn others’ respect, all the ingredients must work together.
I love biscuits made from scratch. Luckily I grew up around excellent scratch biscuit makers. Admittedly, the ingredients my mother and grandmother relied on were basic staples found in virtually every kitchen: flour, salt, baking powder, milk and shortening. However the artistry resided not in the ingredients, but in the skillful combination of those ingredients.
I’ve discovered that how leaders earn respect is a lot like making biscuits. Surprising as it may seem, being respected doesn’t require a wide range of ingredients. In fact, I believe only three critical elements are required. However, like any premier biscuit baker, knowing when and how to combine those basic ingredients will ultimately determine the difference between respect earned or opportunity squandered.
In the second class of a 24-month leadership training program, as I explained what to expect from the sessions ahead, I made an innocent comment.
“It’s important for you to understand that your employees know that you’re participating in this leadership training program,” I offered. “As a result, their expectations of you will predictably change.”
Suddenly, spontaneous, somewhat stifled laughter broke out in the room. The more senior class participants cut their eyes toward one, then another of their colleagues, before ducking their heads and snickering some more. They knew something I didn’t.
I was standing before a group of managers and supervisors with whom I’d been meeting monthly for exactly one year. Each month we had explored those things “leaders ought to know,” but which too often get overlooked, underestimated or disregarded completely. On this, our 12th session together, I began our group discussion with a simple question.
On multiple occasions in my leadership development work I’ve been approached by a manager or supervisor who felt compelled to share with me a personal evaluation of his or her own leadership abilities.
“Phil, you might be interested to know that I’m a pretty good leader if I do say so myself.”
It’s nothing personal, but I’m really not all that interested in what you – the leader — would say of your own leadership prowess and accomplishments. And neither should you be. On the other hand, I’m very interested in what your followers would say about your leadership abilities. And you should be too.
What Would Your Followers Say about Your Leadership Abilities?
So here’s something to consider. If given one word to describe you, what would your followers say about your leadership abilities? Maybe it would be something like sincere, trustworthy, respected or consistent. Or is it possible that they would describe you with words like dictator, clueless, selfish, or…well, I’ll stop there since this a G-rated publication.
In Chapter 4 of my latest book, Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership, I point out that “leaders don’t plan to be disrespected; leaders practice universal principles that earn respect.”
The fact is this: Followers choose to think of and describe their leader based on how they observe you speak, behave and perform day in and day out. Only through your consistent commitment to solid leadership behaviors can you earn the respect of your followers and be assured their evaluation of you is consistent with what a good leader ought to be.
What Would Your Followers Say? – LinkedIn Discussion Group
Share what you think
For those leaders who may be struggling to earn respect, what would you suggest are some “universal principles that will earn respect” and favorable evaluations from their followers?
Please join in the discussion now.
Phillip Van Hooser
Leadership Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author – Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership
Using the techniques learned as an umpire calling balls and strikes, I illustrate an important decision making tip to eliminate opportunities for mistakes and move from reactive decisions to proactive decisions.
The baseball diamond may be a long way from a manager’s office, but this decision making model has been used far more times as a manager than as an umpire.
Phillip Van Hooser