Historically, the word respect meant to look again at a person and consider their value. The observation by the person giving respect involved an examination of character, not physical appearance. The person who merited the respect revealed outwardly, through their conduct, the inner beauty of their good character.
Sadly, in today’s world, there are people in leadership roles who want to be respected, even though they mistreat people and exhibit bad behavior. They want their credentials to take precedence over their moral deficiency. Often, these types of leaders crave the glorious light of recognition and are blinded by it, unable to see value in others. Therefore, when they want people to respect them, it should be no surprise when it is not given.
I heard a leader say today’s generation doesn’t appreciate authority because they are disrespectful. While that may be true in some instances, I also noticed that some leaders distort the image of authority by acting disrespectfully. So, the question is, “Who is really being disrespectful?”
It is silly to think leaders should expect people to automatically respect them just because they hold a high position. The point of being a leader is to exemplify a high standard of excellence and influence people to do the same. But if the leader is not promoting excellence, they should be protested. Otherwise, acquiescing to their bad behavior is an endorsement of immorality.
But I do believe in showing deference to a sacred position of leadership, such as a Pastor, even when the person fails. I think the office is greater than the person. I know it sounds like a contradiction. But when the right type of person holds the office, it can positively change lives. Conversely, the wrong person can ruin lives. Does that make the position bad? No. It depends on how they use their platform. In all cases, the mission of the office didn’t change because the person was unfit or failed. So, I don’t agree with people who dislike a position just because they had a bad experience with one person. For example, I had a friend who told me that they would never step foot in a church because the pastor committed adultery many years ago. Respectfully, I understood why they were disappointed by their behavior, but does that make all pastors bad? Is the office of a pastor bad?
Personally, I want people to respect my leadership based on my positive influence, not my position of authority. The position I hold is just a platform to add value and respect others. My training from the Academy of Leadership taught me that one of the ways to earn respect is to apply the platinum rule: treat people they way want to be treated. A leader who seeks to understand a person’s value first will receive respect in return. Some leaders fail at gaining respect from others because they have this reversed. They want people to understand them first and think about others second.
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