In a past newsletter you talked about the importance of creating respect over becoming friends. This makes sense, but how do I create respect?
First, let’s clearly distinguish the difference between friendship and respect. When we desire friendship our primary concern is that the other person like us. This may result in,
- Placing an individual’s needs before the organization’s needs,
- Being perceived as displaying favoritism, and
- In short, making bad long-term decisions in an effort to appease our ‘friends’.
On the other hand, when we want to be respected our primary concern is that the other person trust and look to us as a leader.
So, to your question: How do you become perceived as a respected leader?
First, get to know your staff members on a personal basis. While this may sound contradictory to my definition above, the difference is that you want to be friendly without caring about whether you are friends (or whether they like you back.)
Second, be consistent (but avoid being consistent for consistency’s sake.) Consistency involves maintaining the same standards tomorrow as today; and upholding them equally for everyone in the group. The exception to this is if there is a rational reason for changing that expectation and it is relatively permanent. Make reasoned changes rather than emotional reactions that change hourly.
Third, actively listen. Many people erroneously believe that the primary responsibility of a manager is to talk. In reality, the smartest leaders spend a great deal more time listening. And when they do finally open their mouths, they ask questions to ensure that they truly understand what is being said to them.
Last, but certainly not least, show respect to your staff. The best way to create respect is to share it with others.
PS Ironically, if you are doing the respected leader thing right, most of your employees will like you anyway!