Learning From a Different Place – Part 7
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Years ago, I thought people would respect me if I had a great title. The titles I had meant so much to me that I couldn’t wait to get my business cards printed so I could pass them out to people. Some people tend to fall into the trap where they believe a leader has a specific outward appearance that makes them think, “There goes a leader. He carries himself so well.” In reality, I think we all know that great leaders don’t look only one way and don’t carry only certain titles. A leader must garner respect and have respect for others in order to lead.

As I continue to work through the updated edition of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, I’m reminded of The Law of Respect. In the book, John Maxwell identifies seven ways we gain respect from others. Let’s take a look.

  • Natural Leadership Ability – Natural ability is a plus for sure. Some people are born with more charisma and love interacting with others. They are driven to achieve goals and aspirations. When blended with the following six ways, their leadership is taken to new heights.
  • Respect for Others – Leaders need to respect others. The source of this respect is their character and awareness that everyone brings something valuable to the table. We may not know what that giftedness is at the time, but we know that it’s there, and as a leader, we want to help the person discover it.
  • Difficulties Overcome – If you haven’t been battle tested, why should anyone trust and believe in you. The difficulties we have overcome in our life are not only great lessons that we have learned but also evidence to others that we can lead.
  • Courage – When I think of courage in leadership, I think about two amazing leaders, Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln. Both Tubman and Lincoln won people over with their courage. Courage to do what is right regardless of the cost. Courage to stand on your values, even if it means losing your life.
  • Success – Similar to courage, past success proves to others that we can succeed. The danger with success is when we start to think we did it on our own. All meaningful success comes from our team. One is too small a number to achieve greatness.
  • Loyalty – Leaders need to be loyal to their team and the organization. We can’t be like the athlete chasing the biggest contract. Leadership is about vision and mission. It’s about staying with the team until the mission is completed. I learned this from my daughter when she was about 13 years old. I was working as the manufacturing manager at Selflock. In the same week, I received two very attractive and unsolicited job offers. As I was discussing them with my family during dinner, Bethany said, “You can’t leave yet. Your job at Selflock isn’t finished.” After hearing those words, I turned down the offers. Wow, was she right.
  • Value Added to Others – After a decade of studying leadership, this is the part I love the most. People follow leaders who add value to them. They follow people who are interested in their success as well as the success of the organization. As Zig Zigler said, “If you help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.” Even more important is seeing someone achieve something they never thought they could because of the support and help you gave them.

The Law of Respect reveals so much more than a fancy title on a business card—it outlines seven areas that I want to focus on and get better at.

Next week, I’ll share more about The Law of Intuition.