Becoming a leader and being respected are two separate skill sets. To be a leader people have to follow you, however they may follow you yet despise you or even fear you. The truly great leaders are those who are not only followed but also respected by their followers.
There are many areas in which you may desire to be a leader. It could be in your career or in your social group or in any of a multitude of different areas in life. The good news is that the principles of leadership are the same regardless of who you are leading.
Today I am going to cover the three key points that you need to develop in order to be perceived as a leader and then the two key points for gaining respect in your leadership.
Leadership Key #1: Make Decisions
The absolute number one key to leadership is being decisive. Followers need a leader because they want to feel that someone is able to show them the way, and in order to do that the leader must know what he or she is doing. The best way to demonstrate that you know what you are doing is to be a good, fast, confident decision maker.
Good leaders make their decisions quickly and change their mind slowly, if at all. If you follow politics you will find that a politician will fall into huge criticism if it can be shown that he supports a different position today than he supported in the past. Followers don't want leaders who make poor decisions and changing your mind is evidence that you believe a past decision was the wrong one.
If you want to be a leader develop the habit of making good, quick decisions and then be willing to stand by those decisions and see them through.
Leadership Key #2: Demonstrate Self Confidence
Followers need a leader because they don't have the confidence to lead themselves in the particular area that the leadership covers. For this reason it is essential that the leader demonstrates great self confidence.
In reality there may be times when a leader is not 100% confident in their ability to lead in a particular situation but if they show any self doubt their leadership will be lost. Good leaders handle their self doubts in private and whenever they are in front of their followers they show nothing but total self confidence.
Leadership Key #3: Be Assertive
A leader must be assertive; he must know what he wants and be willing to do whatever it takes to get it. However don't confuse assertiveness with aggression.
Aggression is getting what you want through bullying. This may acquire the thing you are chasing but it has two very bad side effects. Firstly you lose the respect of those you bully and secondly you put fear into the hearts of your other followers because they know that they may be the target of your bullying in the future.
Assertiveness on the other hand in a definiteness of purpose and a determination to never give in. The assertive person gains respect from their followers because they are showing strength of character.
The above three keys will make you a leader but if you want to be respected by your followers then you will need to add the following two keys.
Respect Key #1: Demonstrate That You Value Others
As a leader your opinion carries great weight. If you show that you value one of your followers then they will take that as a great compliment. Most people will do far more to gain the respect of their leader than they would ever do for money.
A good leader always demonstrates that they value the qualities and contributions of each of their followers. They will publicly acknowledge this on a regular basis. However make sure that this acknowledgement is sincere. When you acknowledge something that has been well done be specific. This allows your followers to see that you are telling the truth and not just handing out empty platitudes.
Even if you have to reprimand someone as part of your duties then ensure, wherever possible, that you point out something about them that you value before you point out what needs to be improved or changed. This approach is far more likely to achieve your desired result and also keep the respect of the person you are reprimanding.
Respect Key #1: Be Consistent in Your Rewards and Punishments.
All leaders have to reward and punish at some time or other. This may be as simple as increasing or reducing rapport or, in the case of a manager for example, could involve promoting or firing someone.
Followers understand that rewarding and punishing is part of the leaders role but in order to maintain respect the leader must be completely consistent in regard to why a person is rewarded or punished, how a person is rewarded or punished and when a person is rewarded or punished.
This consistency provides a solid framework for the followers to function within and they will respect a leader who provides this strong framework.
If you develop skill in these five keys attributes and if you apply them consistently then you will become a respected leader.