Leadership Through Respect

Today, I am inspired to blog because recent events at work have taught me that reputation spreads far and wide; no matter whether it is good reputation or bad reputation. Leaders should be mindful of their own reputation as it affects how subordinates perceives you; it also affects how other people perceives you.

Sometimes, one may have the best of intentions, but the wrong method of voicing out could mean a total loss; people lose respect the moment you open your mouth, and you might have won the battle, but overall, you might have lost the war. The same intentions, when led by different people, have different results.

While I won’t go into details of the events that had happened, generally, there were some disagreements on how to carry things out. These are common, natural occuring situations in any organisation as people have different views. I thought, it is important to convince others, and it is key to win the respect of those who initially oppose your ideas.

If as leaders, we insist on our way without according proper respect to the other individual, your counterpart may feel wounded, as though his views do not matter and only yours does. However, sometimes if you sit down and ponder, both persons come with good intentions, and sometimes it just may be that they both are looking at the same thing with different lens. With different lens, there is a different focus and that means the considerations to evaluate a situation is different as well. Naturally, the decision made is not the same. But that is not to say that the other person’s idea is worthless.

Even if we disagree, the minimum we could do as leaders is to acknowledge the other person’s stance and seek to understand. Respect the individuals thoughts and guide him through your own mental model. This way, if you manage to convince him, he will work according to your demands, no questions asked. However, if you belittle him and adopt a “I know all” approach, he would still follow you, albeit grudgingly. At the end of the event, your reputation is in tatters as someone who is hard to work with and doesn’t listen to alternative opinions.

Reputation and respect matters. Both, when lost, is hard to regain. Sometimes as leaders, we must accept that we can still learn from others. Show that you are a team player that is helping them, and they will be willing to accept your leadership. Show that you are a tyrant, and you will only get the lip service but not respect.

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