Are You Ready for the 2014 Tax Year?

How Leaders Earn Their Followers’ Respect

By Alan Olsen


How Leaders Earn Their Followers’ Respect?

What does it mean to respect someone or to have some else’s respect? If you are respected it means people trust you and your judgment. It means others are likely to follow your lead and stick with you even through the hard times. However, respect is not usually a free gift; it’s something that has to be earned. So how does a good leader earn the respect of his or her followers, or employees, for example? It usually takes time and it takes effort, but mostly leaders earn respect from others by their day-to-day actions and interactions with their followers.


You Have to Really Care

I have discussed respect and leadership with many of the world’s most successful business leaders. Recently I chatted about this topic with Wally Hawley, one of the co-founders of InterWest Partners (1979), which is one of the larger venture capital firms in the U.S. I asked Wally how leaders gain respect from their employees? “Well, they demonstrate whether they really care about the person or not and many leaders spend time mentoring people.” He also said that the good leaders will take the time with younger people and newer people to help them, “whereas some of the other kinds of leaders that are more about themselves are just interested in getting publicity or getting other kudos and not caring about what’s happening” in their own organization.


High Praise for Good Leaders

Wally also said that an important part of the success of any organization occurs when people know whether or not you really care about them. He said: “Those are the popular leaders and it comes across when people talk about a leader. They talk about how good he is, about how they like him, how they respect him and that’s what really good leadership is in my opinion.”


What About Respect in Business?

I also asked Wally about the role that respect plays in a business. “You do have respect if you have someone you can trust and has the integrity. The other part of respect is that you honor and are awed by what these people can do, and their capabilities and their missions.” Wally explained that a lot of respect comes from what your mission is and what their mission is. In other words, if your mission fits with their mission, or vise versa then you will likely have mutual respect. You don’t have to have the exact same ideas or vision, but he said, “as long as they’re in tune or you can agree with their mission or they can agree with your mission that’s when respect happens.”


Strong Relationships Require Respect

Building respect is an important part of any relationship, especially in the business world. If someone doesn’t respect you then they aren’t very likely to follow you or even work with you. Likewise, any relationships that don’t include true respect are most likely not going to get stronger and most cases they won’t last at all.