The Power of Respectful Leadership


“I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

  • Successful leadership begins with self-respect.

  • We earn respect by showing respect, which can only be done if we possess self-respect.

  • Confucius said, “Respect yourself, and others will respect you.”


Respectful Leadership Builds On Character


“Respectful leaders respect people enough to take them to the next level.”
— JSP

It’s been said, “You can’t develop a good reputation overnight, but you can certainly destroy one in a few minutes.” How true that is! Many years ago, I learned trying to impress others wins their trust temporarily; earning their respect relationally takes time and is enduring,

  • Developing self-respect enables us to respect our family members, friends and neighbors, and people in our community.

  • This character trait demonstrated at home and community is what commands the respect of those that work with us.

  • Bruce Lee says, “Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”


Building on Personality

When building on personality we’re guided mainly by emotions and self-serving desires. Making decisions and judgments about people based primarily on personality makes our relationships shallow, and our foundation for leadership unstable.


  • If we form opinions and make decisions based on feelings, we will live a life given to change.

  • We will tend to be offended by those who disagree with how we see things.

  • This makes it difficult for us to show and earn respect from others.

  • Relying on personality is self-serving, and disingenuous, rendering us unable to add lasting value to others.


John W. Gardner says, “If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.”


Respectful Leadership Encourages Creativity and Releases Employee Potential


Respectful Leadership and Employee Proactivity

*(From the Journal of Personnel Psychology)

“Respectful leadership promotes a workplace climate that supports proactive risk-taking.

Unconditional respect supports employees’ feelings of belongingness, allowing them to express themselves and take initiative without fear of retribution.


Respectful leadership is defined as “treating others as equals or, at least, extending them equal dignity” because it touches employees’ core needs of being recognized and respected as human beings.

Perceiving respectful leadership provides employees with the impression that their leader takes them and their work seriously, treats them with honesty and politeness, and shows genuine interest in their opinions.”(1)


In Conclusion


John C. Maxwell correctly remarks, “When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you.”

Anouare Abdou says, “Some leaders are good, but not truly memorable. The leaders that tend to stand out and leave a lasting impression on those who have had the pleasure to work with them command respect — the kind of respect that has been earned rather than forced upon others.”(2)


End Notes

(1) Proactivity at Work: The Roles of Respectful Leadership and Leader Group Prototypicality https://bit.ly/3bJ8QkQ

(2) The most respected leaders do these 4 things https://bit.ly/3JOa9eE



*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co. ***


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