Be Respectable and Be Respectful

Leadership Basics


Are you worthy of respect as a leader? Are you respectful of your followers and those around you? Those are the two topics to consider today as we continue this series of Leadership Basics.

The Respectable Part

Let’s deal with being a person worthy of respect first.

I have often heard the phrase “He just commands respect.” What does that mean? Does it literally mean that I can command you to respect me? How do we gain respect from others? We earn it! So, how do we go about earning respect and being a respectable leader?

How Do You Treat Others? – This very question is dealt with in the second part below where I will discuss being respectful. But, respectFUL leaders are respectABLE leaders.

How Do You Treat Your Spouse? – Social media has pierced the veil that often separates the public and the private personas. If you have allowed any folks from your public world (work, club, church, etc.) into your social media circle then they will see how you interact with your spouse via that media. Are you constantly putting your spouse down? Do you carry on or engage in unnecessary or inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex via social media? These activities do not build respect.

How Do You Manage Your Success? – Let’s not kid ourselves. Money is the most common (and outwardly measurable) measure of success. Your specific income or a dollar amount of money really doesn’t matter. What’s important here is actually living within your means and understanding the basics of personal finance and home budgeting. Educate yourself regarding earning and saving money and treat it with respect. Being in debt over our heads often leads us to unwise and harmful actions.

How Do You Manage Your Ego? – What? You thought leaders are incapable of managing their egos? Not true! Great leaders maintain an air of humility and self-awareness. Respectable leaders are not threatened by their followers or by other strong leaders. In fact, respectable leaders attract other leaders around them to supplement and complement their leadership.

How Often Do You Express Gratitude? – Respectable leaders are grateful for what they have and what they have achieved. They realize that they did not make it to this point in life alone and under their own strength.

Do these five things resonate with you? Do you find these to be worthy and attractive attributes of a respectable leader? I certainly do!

The Respectful Part

Now let’s shift our focus to how we treat and interact with those around us. Let’s look at whether or not we show respect.

The Golden Rule – Treat others the way that you want to be treated. They call it the “golden” rule because, if you do this and nothing else, you’ll be golden. This is actually a secularized maxim from the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. But even that is a slight twist on the Mosaic Law.  The Mosaic Law as expressed in the Torah actually addresses it from the reverse perspective. “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person.” And we all know the things that hurt us, don’t we?

The “It’s A Small World After All” Rule – Do you already have the world’s most annoying song in your head? Sorry.  Here is why I use that Disney tune to make a point. And it is actually a corollary to the “Golden Rule.” No matter who you are, no matter where you live, and no matter what you do for a living, the bubble you in which you exist is actually much smaller than you realize it to be. Because of this, you always want to treat everyone — peers, customers, clients, subordinates, and any other followers that you may have —as if they will one day be your boss. Because they just very well might be one day. You never know what might happen in the future. So think of every person you interact with as a potential person who may hold your destiny in their hands.

The “Be Nice to Those You Meet on the Way to the Top” Rule – And this one is the natural follow on to the “Small World” rule. In fact, I hinted at it in the last sentence. I learned a long time ago the importance of treating those with respect that you meet along the way to the top in the corporate world. I was taught to do so for a very practical reason.  The reason is that you just might have to face those same folks on your way back down if your fortunes change. Or, instead of just seeing them on your way down and out, you may actually end up working for one of them at some point in your career.

The Bottom Line of Respect

Are you demonstrating respect in your leadership style? It doesn’t cost any more to be a person who is respectful of those around them. Respect begets respect. Showing respect will have the benefit of making you a more respectable leader.

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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

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