How to earn respect as a leader

Employees will give you minimum effort if the only reason they respect you is for your authority

Sponsored content
June 18, 2015 |
Steven Burns
How to earn respect as a leader

In a Harvard Business Review post, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst shares advice on how leaders can build credibility in an organization — especially if they are new to it, have a different background than others on a team or are not in a position of authority.

He urges leaders to ask themselves if they command respect because people have to respect them or because they’ve truly earned it.

“When people respect you only because of your authority, they will give you the minimum effort,” he writes. “Some incredibly brilliant people have earned respect because they are so smart, but most people aren’t incredibly brilliant.”

Whitehurst recommends three ways that leaders can begin commanding more respect:

  1. Show passion for the purpose of your organization and constantly drive interest in it.
  2. Demonstrate confidence.
  3. Engage your people.

“Owning up to what you don’t know is an important way to build trust,” he continues. “But it’s just as important to be able to contribute your knowledge and expertise in a way that’s more about the community and what it needs than it is about you and your ego.”

He offers several tips for simplifying the process:

  • Don’t use phrases like “the boss wants it this way” or rely on hierarchical name-dropping. While that may get things done in the short term, it can curtail discussion that’s core to building a team.
  • Publicly recognize a great effort or contribution. It can be as simple as a thank-you e-mail that copies the whole team.
  • Proactively ask for feedback and ideas on a specific topic. And take every opportunity to reinforce the spirit of meritocracy by giving credit where it’s due.
  • Reward a high-performing member of your team with an interesting assignment, even if it’s not in his or her usual area.

Read more from Harvard Business Review.

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA, spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After creating ArchiOffice®, the intelligent office, project management and time tracking solution for architectural firms, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development.

Related Blogs

Why employee advocacy is key to social media success
December 07, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Employee advocacy is key to boosting social media engagement, and employee advocacy is about more than just...

5 ways to bring data into marketing and business development
November 30, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Here are five ways to use data to enhance the client acquisition process

The benefits of selling your firm to employees

Other benefits of selling a firm to employees is the opportunity to mentor the next generation of employees and providing your clients with continuity. Photo: Flickr/401kcalculator.org

November 17, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

One business advisor recommends professional services businesses to develop a group of employees who are wi...

November 02, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Hiring for culture fit doesn’t mean hiring people who are all the same

August 25, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

By analyzing the “benchmark firms” selected from its annual surveys, PSMJ has identified several characteri...

Understanding the values and aspirations of millennials

Only 28 percent of millennials believe that their organization is taking full advantage of their skills, research from Deloitte revealed.

August 20, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

A recent LinkedIn workplace survey revealed that millennials (defined as individuals aged 18–24) are quite...

How to improve project planning
August 11, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

A recent research project revealed that more than 75 percent of project owners have no consistent method fo...

According to research by talent management firm Development Dimensions International, 89% of leaders with strong interaction skills have more engaged teams. Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr

July 10, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Much of what’s written about employee engagement focuses on how leaders can help their employees become mor...

Is your firm social enough?
June 09, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

The overwhelming majority of A/E/C firms are engaged in social media. But to what end? 

Overlay Init