Friday, 16 November 2012

Makings of a leader (Edition 2): Earn Respect

Last Wednesday we started with the first of a series of articles on qualities of a good leader. The second instalment on this series is on earning the respect of your seniors, colleagues and especially subordinates.
Please note that these qualities apply to everyone and people of all ages as everyone is a leader in some way or in some circles. As such don’t discard this series thinking that it’s meant for those with high leadership positions.
“I think Professor E.H. Guti (Founder of ZAOGA FIFMI Church) is a true example of a leader coming from God spiritually. He earned respect rather than demanded it. Apostle Guti is a humble man of God who strives 2 tell the good news of Christ 2 all human kind regardless of stature,” Sandra Zishiri Dambuza remarked about her role model Leader.
Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone elicited by their qualities or achievements. It’s clear that respect is earned. It is actually a commodity you earn in exchange for some quality you possess or from an achievement you made.
Most leaders make the terrible mistake of feeling secured by their position and thinking that respect will come as a by-product of the position they hold. People will never respect you merely because of a title you possess.
When most leaders encounter insubordination they usually resort to use of force or fear to guarantee their respect. They read the riot act to subordinates, call them to hearings or threaten them with dismissal. Be warned this is a futile effort that will not provide the desired result but will rather aggravate it. It’s important to be wary that respect isn’t part of benefits package of your post or position. It does not work that way! Kenneth Blanchard an American Author and management expert said, “The key to successful leadership today is influence not authority.”
While some leaders or managers have learnt that use of force or intimidation does not yield result others choose to buy love from everyone instead. That again does not work! Average leaders yearn for people’s love, but great leaders earn respect because they observed that even your enemies too can respect you. So many leaders are loved but not necessarily respected so you can buy people’s love but never their respect.
The bottom line then is as a leader you just have to earn respect; there are no two ways about it. It is about you more than it is about the system, structures or subordinates. You can put up systems that guarantee your position and protect you from being challenged but that will never earn you respect. You have to work on your traits in order to elicit that respect from people; even those who do not necessarily agree with you or like you.
We will recommend a few ways that will earn you respect then you can also find your feet along the way as you experience leadership or read around further.
1.      Respect Yourself
Show respect for yourself first before expecting others to. If you think you will be able to draw people to respect you when you don’t then please wake up from that dream and think straight. People usually obey the law of reflection well. By that I mean people will give you back what you give them. Simple things as the way you dress, how seriously you take your work, how you meet your own targets and deadlines and how you address yourself will either earn or lose you respect.
2.      Respect Others
Except if you are the highest authority in a place then you also have superiors. Never dream of being respected when you clearly show disdain and contempt for your leaders. Don’t get it wrong, everyone needs to be respected. John C Maxwell always says people do not care how much you know unless they know how much you care. Respect others if you want them to respect you.
3.      Respect Principles and Standards
Never violate principles and values around people then expect them to respect you. If you want to be respected at least you should respect established principles. Don’t take shortcuts or use double standards. People can hate you for being a by the book person but never mind them, deep down they respect you for being able to do what they cannot do. People think they like leaders who let them be and flout rules but in actual fact they don’t respect such people. Deep down they will have respect for the leader who respects principles.
Well those were broad recommendations; do hope they are good enough to get you started.
The writer is a motivational Speaker
He can be contacted on

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