Respect is the key determinant of high-performance leadership. How much people respect you determines how well they perform.
–Brian Tracey

Dear Leaders,

Would you consider yourself to be a respectful person and a respectful leader? Do you consider your co-workers, customers, and business partners respectful? There are arguments that levels of respect are diminishing; that we care less about others, and that we may even care less about ourselves.

Let’s define RESPECT. Wikipedia says: “Respect denotes a positive feeling of esteem . . . and it can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”). . .”

It also says “Respect should not be confused with tolerance, since tolerance doesn’t necessarily imply any positive feeling, and is compatible with contempt, which is the opposite of respect”. Interesting distinction; respect MUST include positive feelings.

Some say respect must be earned; does this really serve us well? What if we begin all relationships on a basis of respect, where we look for desirable qualities and seek positive feelings? Let’s at least start on a level playing field and give others the benefit of the doubt that they are indeed respectful with a need to be respected.

Ways to Build Respect With Your Team

  • We need to be authentic, walk the talk, follow through with what we commit to, and support and reward the attainment of our goals.
  • We need to take time to build relationships with everyone we interact with.
  • We need to give (and receive) feedback in a constructive and honoring way.
  • We need to address unproductive behaviors and hold others accountable.
  • We need to expect that conflict will occur and realize that it is healthy and promotes growth. (Remember, conflict is a difference of desires or opinions, where your concerns or the concerns of someone else are not shared).
  • We need to respect and admire who we are and what we have achieved and ensure team members to do the same.

Increasing levels of respect not only fosters success but also improves morale, decreases attrition, and enhances job satisfaction. As a leader do you inspire respect?