Leaders Want Respect

The secret to getting respect –  … You must give it.

Respect and Dignity is now a common workplace phrase thanks to organizational diversity programs. As I think back on when workplaces were not very conscious of issues taught by our diversity efforts, I remember a lot of behaviors that just seem wrong. Were they made wrong by our new consciousness from diversity teaching?

No. For Leaders, they are wrong now and they were wrong then. I remember Mr. Bru at the department store chain that helped me work my way through college. When I think of him I still see that very professional appearance that was always maintained in retail, but most of all, I see his consistent behaviors. He exuded respect and dignity. He gave it to himself and it flowed for others.

He was firm, fair, and quick to recognize our contributions. I knew how much he cared about our store and our customers. I knew what he liked and what he didn’t like when it came to how we presented that store. I respected that. I delivered around that.

35 years later … I still have the utmost respect for this man. Did I mention that I was a stock boy?

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About Jeff Brunson

In this whirling 21st Century the individual needs to embrace the authentic self and confidently leverage the energy and power found there. As we entered the 21st Century, I became more concerned about what leaders like you needed for successful influence and personal fulfillment. As we move deeper into this challenging 21st Century, I’m more convinced than ever that the core of my work is in helping individual leaders remember who they are − a trueness. It is about confidence found in your authenticity.

2 thoughts on “Leaders Want Respect

  1. I am in California right now (my home is in Illinois). I drove here with my wife and 2 sons (6 and 1…almost 2). It was a long drive, but we took some side trips that made the journey spectacular. I had an experience the other day that jumped to mind when I read “Leaders Want Respect.” Specifically, they have to do with “respect and dignity.” We ate pizza the other day at a California chain. The kids at the counter and in the kitchen looked like they were 12…to me, at least. There was a woman screaming and yelling back in the kitchen. You could see her red face through a “window” behind the cash registers. I peered in, and she was absolutely ripping into this kid about something…how you position the pizza’s for the server to take out to the tables…and the kid was standing there looking at her, doe-eyed. You could literally see his dignity being stripped away, like he was being punished at a whipping post. Sound dramatic? Hardly. How old are you Jeff? Rhetorical question, of course. And you still have such strong memories of a good leader from earlier in your life. This kid will remember this ranting woman, spittle flying from her mouth, assaulting his dignity. And it won’t be fondly. She will have some level of effect on his life for years to come, either personally or professionally. The woman went on from one assault to the next. On and on. Hmm…I wonder if her approach might have something to do with the fact that these kids just can’t seem to “get it right.” Hmm… We should never underestimate our ability to leave a lasting impression on anyone, particularly on those whom we have been entrusted to lead. Respect and dignity are the foundation of all of life’s most powerful relationships. As leaders, it all comes down to how powerful we want our realtionships with others to be.

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