How To Earn Respect By Being Less Respectful

Posted on September 11, 2015 by Nate Regier / 2 comments
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Don’t challenge your boss.
When she questions you, just apologize and try to make it right.
Always accommodate him.
Don’t waste her time with your ideas.

If this is your definition of respect, you might be playing a losing game. The more you try to please your boss, the less she seems to respect you. In many cases, trying to please your boss at all costs doesn’t earn respect. It reinforces for him that you don’t have a backbone, that you can’t be trusted when the going gets tough, that you will cave in when challenged.

What’s the alternative?

Many leaders have strong values and are dedicated to their work. They prize loyalty and work ethic in their subordinates. They also prize conviction, a solid confidence in boundaries, values, and standards. While they may not always agree with a particular course of action or idea, they respect the conviction behind it. These leaders are not interested in “yes-men.” They want to see integrity and courage.

I am not suggesting you become insubordinate and try to take control over your relationship with your boss. I am suggesting that it’s OK to share the things you feel strongly about. It’s OK to have boundaries. It’s OK to hold your boss accountable for the promises he makes. These behaviors show him that you have integrity and respect yourself and your boss enough to take a risk.

The goal isn’t to get everything you want. The goal is to earn respect. By showing your boss that you stand for something, you will not only earn her respect, you will begin to respect yourself more.

Weigh in with your perspective;

Leaders, would you prefer “yes-men” or people who show conviction, even when they respectfully disagree with you?

Followers, how do you feel about trying what I’ve suggested in this post? If you’ve tried it, what happened?

Leave your comments below.

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Photo of Tom Oxley
Tom Oxley
Posted on September 18, 2015

Perfect timing for sharing thoughts on this subject, it supports a discussion that our management team had during our meeting earlier this week. Thank you for providing these insights each week, they continue to support our discussions and understanding of applying LOD techniques.

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Photo of Margaret
Posted on September 18, 2015

This happened years ago when I had a diificult boss. At first she was acting more like a bully and I was not handling it well. Gradually I found that by standing up to her at times (assertively), we eventually moved to a relationship of mutual respect.

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