Respect and Leadership

We’ve all had a boss that we didn’t respect. Think about why you didn’t respect them. Maybe they were dishonest, rude, or arrogant. Maybe they were lazy or spineless. Whatever the reason might have been, if you didn’t respect them then they weren’t a good leader.

Think about the people in your life that you lead. Maybe it’s a team of employees, or maybe it’s your family. Do you show them respect? Do you respect their boundaries, personal space, and individual preferences? Or are you trying to make them do things the way you do, and keeping them from being unique individuals?

If you don’t show respect to others, then you aren’t worthy of theirs.

To be a good leader you also have to respect yourself. By taking care of your body with exercise and nutrition, and by standing up for what you believe, and not allowing people to trample your rights, you demonstrate by your actions that you respect yourself.

If you don’t respect yourself then neither will anyone else.

Respect is essential to leadership, and it must be earned as well as given, if we are to be leaders at work, and more importantly in our homes.

Flexibility and Leadership

Change happens. Weather changes and ruins your plans. Sickness and injuries stop us in our tracks. Car accidents occur. Sometimes change comes in the form of others having better ideas than our own. Or the competition does something no one expected them to do.

So with all this change going on around us, how can we possible be rigid with our plans? How can we not prepare backup plans, and almost expect something unexpected to happen?

If we aren’t flexible, then we aren’t being good leaders. It’s that simple and it’s that important.

At the starting line of my first Ironman triathlon, the announcer said, “You can’t control the weather, and you can’t control if you get a flat tire; the only thing you can control today is your attitude, so make it a good one.”  That’s good advice for life, not just for a race.

When a monkey wrench gets thrown into our plans, it’s how we respond that is contagious to the whole family, company, or team. If you say, “Hey, no problem. We’re flexible,” then people will want to follow you, they’ll want to be on your team.

Adapt and overcome…with a smile.

Honesty and Leadership

A friend who works for the State Police told me about a great boss he once had. On the first day of work, he called my friend into his office to officially welcome him aboard. Near the end of the meeting, the boss said, “There’s one last thing I need to tell you, and I say this to everyone who works for me. If you ever, ever lie to me, you will be fired before you hit the floor at the bottom of the stairs.”  

It’s just that important. Honesty is the concrete foundation on which our reputation and character rest. Destroy that foundation, and everything else comes crashing down.

In my 17 years in the Air Force, I’ve only had one bad boss, and it was dishonesty that brought him down. People can forgive mistakes and overlook a lot of flaws, but dishonesty in inexcusable. Nobody wants to work with someone they can’t trust. Ever.

So be honest about your mistakes; even the big ones that you really want to hide. Don’t hesitate. Don’t think it through. Just be honest. Always and quickly. That’s the kind of foundation upon which truly great leaders are built.