[May 9, 2020] Yesterday, I published Part 1 of this series on how senior leaders gain respect. It bears repeating, “It is not possible to force people to respect you.” Everyone seems to recognize that respect helps smooth the way toward getting the mission accomplished. Thus, the desire for respect will come as no surprise.
“How do leaders gain respect?” In yesterday’s article, I concluded that pacing reality was a practical way to begin. Pacing reality means working with others, taking it slow, and ensuring the other person is not put off by insults or dismissals. Today, I have two additional ways a senior leader can gain respect.
- Use storytelling. Use stories and interesting tidbits to keep the attention of others. The key here is “interesting.” Once done, be sure to show how it applies to the topic of discussion or the problem before you. Keep others on their toes by continually relating your words back to the other person. Using the second-person in speech is also helpful as it becomes a powerful tool because it reminds us of the other’s importance, that they matter. One particularly useful, hitherto rarely used technique is the use of archetypical stories. An archetype is an idea that resonates across a wide swath of humanity despite differing conditions of time, culture, and location. For example, archetypical stories are those that are told since the beginning of humankind and rise above others because they remind us of our personal stories. We intuitively understand, remember, and are emotionally connected to archetypical stories. We often find them in fairy tales and so people are familiar with them (often since childhood) and are a basis for common ground.
- Encourage dialogue. First, this means being emotionally composed and encourage others to stay calm, in particular when external pressures come to bear (e.g., in an argument, combat, sports). Second, it means paying close, focused attention to those speaking to you. “Show” your attention, demonstrate your awareness to that other person, don’t interrupt, and don’t be domineering. Consider the other person and their reality (without judgment). Do this and wrap your point in engaging stories, slowly at that other person’s pace and ability to understand. Treat the other person as if they have something to teach you.
What this list does is opens up my vision of leadership and how respect is desired and how to gain it. See earlier posts in www.theleadermaker.com to find additional articles on respect, how to gain it and how to give it, and how respect is not as quantifiable as we might think.