Too many people in leadership roles (business owners, managers, executives, etc…) believe that they deserve people’s respect simply because of their positions. Some go as far as demanding respect, presiding over their subordinates with an iron fist and using fear or threats to coax others to take action. This type of behavior may work in the short term, but people will resent you instead of respect you. So how can you earn respect as a leader? Here are some ways:

1: Treat others with respect.

The old saying that you need to give respect to get respect is true. Respect the decisions, opinions and feelings of those around you. Again, poor leaders feel the need to discredit those around them because they don’t believe that people below them on an org chart should know more than them.

Many ineffective leaders are arrogant enough to think that they are better than the people that work for them. These are the type of people that would be killed by friendly fire on a real battlefield — and in the corporate world, may find themselves the victim of a plot to oust them from their current role. So remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

2: Admit it when you make a mistake.

Good leaders always admit when they make mistakes. We’re all human and we all mistakes. Making a mistake and trying to cover it up will make you look dishonest. Trying to place the blame on others will make you especially unpopular. Instead, fess up and lead by example. Showing others that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them will result in others being honest with you — everyone benefits.

3: Be consistent.

I once worked for someone that wouldn’t let his people work from home when they were expecting deliveries, but he himself would work from home when he had one. People resent this type of behavior as it separates people into two classes: the haves and the have nots.

Not abiding by your own rules makes you look like a hypocrite and you’ll lose the respect of those around you. Live by your rules and if you find that you can’t, consider losing the rule.

4: Lead by example.

It’s easy to tell others that they should do something or act a certain way, but it’s much more effective to show them. If you want your people to have clean desks, then make sure yours is clean. If you want people to show up to meetings on time, then make sure that you’re on time.

These suggestions are mainly common sense, but so many people refuse to think about anything but their own needs. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person and treat them the way you’d like to be treated. You may pleasantly surprised at the results.

Earning respect as a leader

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