Leadership ~ Six Tips to Maintain Trust and Respect.
By Dr. Rick Johnson, CEO Strategist, LLC
Saturday, 11th October 2008
"Employees won't start respecting you until YOU start respecting them" -"Employees won't start trusting you until YOU start trusting them."
An effective leader must be able to interact with employees, peers, superiors and many other individuals both inside and outside the organization. Leaders must gain the support of many people to meet or exceed established objectives. This means that they must develop or possess a unique understanding of people. The ability to coach-mentor and teach leadership skills to others is the driving force that will create a winning organization. Being an effective leader requires the understanding of the principles that govern employee behavior. Accomplish that and success is imminent. Follow the following tips and avoid some of the pitfalls that that could cause you to lose both trust and respect.
1.     Making promises when you are not sure you can keep them can lead to a loss of respect.
Take making promises seriously. View a promise, as a commitment made with an understanding that circumstances might arise that would make it impossible to keep them. Make those circumstances very clear to the person at the time promises are made. Breaking a promise can lead to a loss of respect on the part of the employee. He may question your integrity. A leader must have an impeccable character to earn the confidence of his employees. Don't make promises you can't keep and in that rare circumstance that you do break a promise, face the employee eye to eye explaining in detail why you were not able to keep your promise. Be honest about it.
2.     Some employees whine, especially sales people. It's part of their DNA. That does not mean you should ignore complaints that you consider whining.
No employee thinks his complaint is insignificant even if you think it is whining.   It is still a problem even if the complaint is taken lightly or ignored. In fact it may grow and fester. An effective leader will address the complaint and not be afraid to tell the employee it is whining or trivial by explaining why. Even though the employee may not hear the answer he is looking for, the leader will not lose respect due to inattention. Of course how he delivers the message is important and should be done without belittling the employee.
3.     A leader must show consistency and fairness in his treatment of employees.
Do you vary your approach with employees, being lenient with some and strict with others? There is a fine line between treating all employees exactly the same and showing consistency in the treatment of employees. Employees are all individuals with different backgrounds, different values, different goals, different ideas and different motivational factors. The ability to recognize the differences in people and the ability to apply variable leadership methodologies is an important characteristic of effective leadership. That being said, it is extremely important that a leader does not show favoritism and give preferential treatment to employees. A lack of consistency in the leader's treatment of employees destroys teamwork and trust.    Do not give special privileges unless a special situation warrants it, and everyone understands it.
    4.    Becoming buddies with your employees is not a good idea and Corporate Recreational Mating is an absolute taboo. That does not mean that you should be cold and aloof. Leadership is about relationships but you must not develop a personal relationship to the extent that it compromises your ability to take command and show control when necessary.
Aloofness can detract from effective leadership. You can be friendly without losing authority or compromising your position. A leader must demonstrate competence and vision and at the same time show a sincere interest in the well being of his employees. Anyone whose job is to influence people and direct them in their work must maintain friendly contact with the group.
   5.    Being able to collaborate, share ideas and not be threatened by the transfer of intellectual capital is extremely important to promoting a team concept and an atmosphere that promotes confidence.
Sharing your thoughts, experiences, knowledge along with coaching and mentoring is showing confidence and self respect. This supports a culture of camaraderie. Share information whenever issues in your realm of responsibility affect operations in other manager's areas. Absolutely do not circumvent the authority of managers reporting to you and don't go around other managers.
   6.    Refusing an employee's request without creating resentment is a tactful necessity of effective leadership.
                     The ability to say no without creating hostility is important. The key to accomplishing that objective is to recognize the request with sincerity and explain in detail why the request cannot be granted. Being sincere demonstrates concern and makes your personal regret believable.
We all have egos but effective leaders control their own egos and understand how to utilize their understanding of people to inspire peak performance. They are confident and have high self esteem without demonstrating arrogance. Leadership cannot be ego driven but good leaders command a presence when they walk into the room. They are not only compassionate but they are passionate about success and they make every effort to coach and mentor their team. They have the unique ability to communicate and demonstrate exceptional listening skills.
Check out CEO Strategists Learning to Lead So Others Will Follow Planning Workbook and CD set.
www.ceostrategist.com  – Sign up to receive "The Howl" a free monthly newsletter that addresses real world industry issues. – Straight talk about today's issues. Sign up now and download "The Lead Wolf Interview Guide & Sales Training 101 a guide on conducting effective sales training sessions". Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.
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