How Senior Leaders Gain Respect (Part 2)

[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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 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.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “How Senior Leaders Gain Respect (Part 2)

  1. Greg Heyman

    Don’t try to make everyone you encounter agree with you and see things from your perspective, because it’s a waste of energy. Simply encourage a dialogue, and if that can’t manifest itself then move on.

  2. JT Patterson

    On encouraging dialogue, I found this on the Internet:
    “10 Ways Team Leaders Can Encourage Robust Dialogue”
    a. Be Open with Each Other.
    b. Poll Others Where Appropriate.
    c. Be Innovative.
    d. Support Other Ideas.
    e. Be Helpful.
    f. Challenge Ideas.
    g. Balance Courage & Consideration.
    h. Generate Light; Not Heat.
    i. Park it.
    j. Provide Feedback.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      JT, yes and a very ‘western’ society response. So, in that respect, I agree. And these articles by Gen. Satterfield are some of his very best.

    2. Jerome Smith

      Good list. My philosophy is don’t be closed-minded, because you’re selling yourself short by not entering a conversation with the idea that you have something that you can learn. Everyone, including those you think you disagree with, can teach you something, so be willing to listen to their opinion even if you’re going to filter out some parts of it later.

      1. Fred Weber

        I agree and will add that we should not fear conflict or disagreement, because honest conflict has more value than dishonest harmony does.

  3. Santa Fe Mae

    Another excellent, short series on an important, worthy topic. Thanks.
    I’ll also add that these three ways to gain ‘respect’ is something that I would not have thought of. So, in that respect, I liked this series. I would suggest that you add more. While I can’t think of anything this complex, I’m sure Gen. Satterfield could find more.

    1. Eric Coda

      I agree Santa Fe Mae. I don’t think that this is the most productive approach to take when you encounter someone who disagrees with you because you don’t need to be aggressive and hostile when you can decide to engage in dialogue instead.

  4. Max Foster

    Today, not last century, “encouraging dialogue” is probably the best. In the “old days” when men were men and women were real women, a leader would kick your ass if you stepped out of line, have the hardasses come in and bet you silly, or throw you in a pit of hot tar. We are wussies today.

    1. Watson Bell

      Max, you’re just killing us today. I laughed so hard, my dog got up and ran into the next room. 😊😊😊😊
      You get four funny faces today.

      1. old warrior

        Hey, Max and Watson, great comments. Now, you’re not stealing my line on ‘kicking butt’ these days are you?

  5. Army Captain

    After re-reading yesterday’s article and today’s article back to back, I see a little better where you’re going with this. Part of it is the fact that senior leadership is fundamentally different in complexity than basic, more junior-level leadership. Thanks.

    1. Ed Berkmeister

      Yes, I can see that too. But I also think that junior leaders can learn just as much, so in that respect I disagree.

    2. Yusaf from Texas

      I had to read it twice also. I think Gen. Satterfield is drifting into philosophical territory with this mini series. I do like it but hey, get back to the basics. Thanks, just my thinking this early in the morning. Maybe I should have had my cup of coffee but the darn thing is broken and I have to risk getting the COVID19 by going to the local Seven Eleven for my morning joe.

      1. Gladys Bates

        Hi Yusaf. Go to Starbucks — better service, cleaner, and healthier. Costs more tho.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.