Great Leaders

Great Leaders Don’t Demand Respect, They Earn It

Has a leader ever said “do as I say not as I do” to you? While a number of countries took time on Nov 11 (Remembrance Day in Canada) to honour and remember their current and fallen military heroes who sacrificed themselves for their country I was reminded of one of my first experiences with leadership.


As a thirteen year old Army Cadet we were taught to pay attention to minor details like ensuring our boots were so shiny you could use them as a mirror and the creases in out pants were so sharp you could almost cut your finger if you ran then down the front of the legs.

A higher ranking Cadet came up to me and said that my boots were not shiny enough. I looked down at his boots and noticed his boots were not any shinier than mine. I broke military protocol and pointed out to him that his boots were not very shiny either. His response was, “do as I say not as I do”. This left me confused, dejected and I lost complete respect for this person.

I unfortunately experienced similar instances in my corporate career where the actions of business owners, managers and company Presidents did not reflect the values and standards they communicated. Leaders who preach fiscal restraint then take lavish vacations or express appreciation for employees with many years of loyal and dedicated service then unceremoniously lay them off are not being consistent their words and actions.

As leaders we must recognize that those whom we lead have us under a microscope. They are watching to see if our actions are matching our words. Any level of inconsistency between words and actions are magnified and will lead to apathy and distrust in our organization. Once trust is lost it takes a very long time to regain it resulting in a downward trend of diminishing performance.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain your consistency between words actions:

  1. Clearly define and understand your own core values and live them every day.
  2. Remember that the truce character of a person is what they do when no one is watching.
  3. Don’t ask anyone do to anything that you wouldn’t do yourself.

Leaders who truly believe and live the words they say will earn the undying respect and loyalty of their team, run more effective organizations and leave a legacy that will outlast their being.,

Tony Malyk Certified Business Coach | Strategic Planner | Business Performance Specialist at Empowered


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