Rodney Dangerfield’s classic line launched a career in comedy. Tiger Woods’ indiscretion revealed major cracks in character, costing him greatly. Shamsiddi Abdur-Raheem’s decision in anger destroyed the life of an infant. Scandal, deceit, immorality, unethical tactics, murder, along with hundreds of inappropriate activities result in a loss of respect.
What can take a life time to earn can be lost in a moment of poor decision. Respect is vital to leadership. Clearly, people follow leaders they respect.
While many reasons can be stated costing someone respect, the question every leader must consider is, how do I gain respect? Consider a few possibilities.
1) Show respect. Jim Selman applied a connection between leadership and respect by pointing out “a culture of respect begins with a commitment to seeing everyone as worthy of respect.” Every individual being created in the image of God establishes the basis for this respect. Joe Torre, former head coach of the New York Yankees, would identify respect as a two way street. If respect is desired, respect must be given.
2) Make wise decisions. Wisdom is gained through one’s own personal experience and knowledge or the personal experience and knowledge of others. Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. Making wise decisions begins with recognizing consequences. Making the right choices in our personal life helps others see wisdom at work. Fox News published 10 steps to wise decision making worth the read. One of the best ways to gain respect is to make wise decisions.
3) Follow through. Planning takes follow through. Wise decisions require follow through. Bad decisions are the result of bad follow through? When we tell someone we are going to do something, then do it. Commitment does not change with a better offer, nor when obstacles arise. David spoke of the integrity demonstrated by the one who “swears to his own hurt, and does not change.” Follow through speaks volumes regarding respect.
4) Admit mistakes. As difficult as it can be to admit, we are not perfect. We are going to make mistakes, and guess what? Everyone else knows we make mistakes. Phil Holberton shows how respect is earned in leadership by admitting mistakes. Admitting mistakes, learning from them, and striving to never make them again moves mountains in gaining respect.
5) Express gratitude. Two of the most powerful words in the English language are “thank you.” The expression of gratitude begins with God, “from whom all blessings flow.” Expressing gratitude flows from the whole of life, not just a one time act. Improving our ability to express true gratitude begins in a few simple steps. Learning to send a card, make a phone call, or a personal expression of gratitude goes far in gaining respect.