I was trying to think of a leader that I respected and didn’t trust. No one came to mind. Can you trust someone you don’t respect? How about respect without trust?
The two qualities go together like bread and butter, car and driver, or politicians and rhetoric. Perhaps they can exist independently, but when they’re together, something new happens.
When we talk of trust, we make the choice of being vulnerable based on our positive expectations. This positive has a similar “feel” to respect: Respect is a deep admiration for someone’s abilities, qualities or achievements.
Leading With Respect
I’m not someone who automatically respects or trusts a “leader” because of her title or position. I may be impressed by the hard work she put into achieving her position, but I won’t necessarily trust her… and if I’m going to give respect, it will be to the person – not the job title. How about you?
Thinking of those people who I do respect and trust, I see they act on these six practices:
1. Give it Away
“What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say. “ ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Both trust and respect are earned. The fastest way to earn them is to give them: Show others trust, give others respect.
Do what you say you will do.
Yes, leadership is complicated and so sometimes, despite our best intentions, we can’t deliver. So ALWAYS circle back and explain why and ask to be released from your original promise.
3. Listen to Communicate
Being a great communicator means listening with your mind as well as your heart. What is being communicated by what isn’t being said? Listen to people and consider what they have to say with an open mind. Great communicators address both the “why” and the “how” of the situation. Trust your gut and learn to ask great questions. A great book to help you is “Quiet Leadership” by David Rock.
4. Prepare for Confidence
Respect is born through the competence you show, one of the 5 pillars of trust. (The 5 pillars are Caring, Commitment, Consistency, Competence and Communication) Have the confidence born of knowledge and experience. When you speak, know what you are talking about. Remember, though: confidence is not arrogance; a confident leader is willing to admit his mistakes; hiding them is a sign of duplicity.
5. Make People Safe
A respected leader I spoke to told me: You may not want to have everyone sitting at your dinner table, but you can learn a lot from people if you realize that everyone has something to teach you. Show each person that you “see” her/him. Many leaders intimidate because of their power and title. The really successful leaders make others feel that it is safe to speak up and know their opinions will be heard.
6. Go First
Do you want trust and respect from others? Start by trusting and respecting yourself. It means not putting yourself down when you make a mistake; own up to it and move on. Let yourself take risks based on your own values and strengths. Listen to that “inner voice” guiding your decisions.
What else are you doing to build respect? Trust? The two together?
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