The Respect Factor — Earning Versus Demanding

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Most people expect that with the title, respect will follow. And unfortunately most people are wrong.

Your team members don’t respect a title unless they respect a person. Or I should say it’s the characteristics of that person, the actions of that person, and the words of that person that would cause the respect to happen. Or not.

As a leader you have “character.” Character that’s developed over time from your experiences, your knowledge, and your image. The French term is “Noblesse Obilge” – described as the way you carry yourself; your self portrait.

When you gain respect, when you earn respect, your directions, your delegations, your goals, and your strategies become infinitely more transferable and implementable.

Respect has several levels. You can respect someone face-to-face, in a professional or business environment (that’s referred to as formal respect). The most powerful level is absent respect (or genuine respect). It’s what other people say about you when you’re not there – how they talk about you and how they refer to you. As a leader, if you only have professional respect, you will not get the same performance or the same level of dedication from your people as you would if you had genuine respect.

Listen to the tone and look at the facial expressions of the people you interact with every day. If there are no smiles, and if you perceive that full effort is not being given, then all you have is formal respect.

The key to earning respect is not just words, deeds, and actions; it’s also consistent words, consistent deeds, and consistent actions that are integrity based, truth based, and ethically based.

Your people will always respect the office and the title.

HERE’S THE CHALLENGE: Do they respect the person that wears it – or should I say the person who earns it?

KEY POINT OF UNDERSTANDING: If you think respect automatically comes with the title, rethink it.

KEY ACTION TO TAKE: Study your words and actions. Do they deserve respect? Study your reputation. Does it deserve respect?

Do they want to listen to you? Or do they have to listen to you?

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  1. Jeff,

    Great post..I totally agree with this…I feel like many people demand respect because their leadership is ego based…Authentic leaders influence without any force (this is the true definition of real power)…..In my sales video blog I try to let my audience know that when there is no ego involved in leadership or/selling, opportunities will arise and people will like you more…

    Also, many people have a hard time working on themselves inside to build character…Many people in the business world think that money itself will give character….It is all about the type of person you are and how you live your life:)..

    I wish more people would read Eckhart Tolle more..


    Keep in touch:)


  2. I love the point about genuine respect being what people say about you when you’re not around. That’s what we should all strive for.

    I’ve heard it said that character is what you do when nobody’s watching. That makes me want to give my best at all times.

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