Leadership is Earned – Not Awarded

first published Feb., 2020

Respect, trust and loyalty are earned over time. 

We have heard this many times before.  And then in walks the new boss and within the first few months it becomes very apparent that he or she did not read the manual.

Frankly, it never ceases to amaze me that this mindset still exists.  That you can walk into any environment with a new leadership-type title and demand respect and trust and loyalty, just because of the title. The betting-person will wisely see this and give them less than two years. 

Leaders must earn our respect.  Once they earn our respect, the other two, trust and loyalty, follow into place quite nicely.

So how does an incoming leader earn our respect.

I turned to Forbes.com for some ideas, and an article by Glenn Llopis entitled “5 Ways Leaders Earn Respect From Their Employees” caught my eye.

‘Leaders must be active and attentive listeners, practice patience, appreciate the unique talents and capabilities of their colleagues, and be noticeably grateful for the effort and performance of their teams’, it suggests.  And then it lists five ways to earn respect from your employees:

  1. Consistently Strong Work Ethic; Set the Standard. Actions are stronger than words

  2. Not Afraid to Take Risks; Admit Wrong Doing. Clear as a bell.  Strong enough to take risks and strong enough to take the fall.   

  3. Sponsor High-Potential Employees; Serve Others Rightly. I have written in this space a few times over the years. “Great leaders build great leaders’.  They find the next leaders and serve them as coaches and mentors. 

  4. Powerful Executive Presence; Long-Lasting Impact. They are genuine and true. They have developed a brand and they live it day in and day out. 

  5. Have Their Employees’ Backs; Deflect Their Own Recognition. The don’t need the credit.  They always talk ‘we’ and not ‘I’ and they always hold others out for the credit.

Leadership is Earned – Not Awarded

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