Trust And Respect Are Earned

“I should be respected because of my position,” the manager told the board out of frustration. Knowledge was even spread outside the organization of the lack of respect and trust in that manager by those inside and outside the organization.

My response was, “Respect, as with trust, must be earned. One does not have it inferred because of a high ranking position.”

Indeed, years later that individual earned that respect and trust as a leader.

There is even little respect for the office of the President of the United States judging by my Facebook “news” feed. If the President cannot command respect due to his position, being even subject to lies and slander, how much respect can your committee chair demand from that position?

Do you do what you say? That is the key question leading to trust. Beyond that, do you act and decide ethically considering the situations of all stakeholders? If so, then you will earn respect. 

I write this and sound like I know what I’m saying. But…it really challenges me to look back at my leadership times–both the successful and not so successful. It’s easy for me to access my memory of former bosses, company presidents, and the like. I can remember where trust and respect broke down. The challenge is when my actions went over the top or when I was quiet when I should have spoken.

How often have I fallen short! It does no good to point to others when I am challenged. If someone loses my respect and trust, I tend to just drift away (or run as fast as possible).

Perhaps there are two tasks for us. First, we need to always be aware of the impact of our decisions and actions. Second, we could find someone drifting the wrong direction in this situation and mentor them back onto the road to trust and respect.

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