(10 Principles of Modern-Day Leaders Series)
The paradigm of leadership has shifted over recent decades. With multiple generations in the workplace, a globally connected world, competitive job markets, demand for work/life balance, and fast-moving changes in technology, leaders need to adapt to changes and understand how to effectively connect with those they are leading.
In this ten-part series, we layout ten principles that modern leaders can lead with to be the most effective difference makers they can be.
On rare occasions, when we go into work environments to teach and coach on leadership development, we sometimes encounter leaders that are a bit guarded. For whatever reason, there can be an element of feeling like, “These guys don’t know what it takes to lead in my position,” or “I lead just fine, and I don’t need this stuff.”
To be honest, we understand that feeling. We don’t try to change their minds or impress them as soon as we walk in. We don’t expect them to respect us just because we are the leadership experts. Instead, our goal when we walk in is to show the leaders in the room that we respect them for what they do, and we are simply there to serve and assist them on their leadership journeys.
My good friend, Brian Huxford, has been speaking on leadership for the past several years. As soon as a leader walks into one of his lessons, he walks up to him or her, shakes their hand, looks them in the eye, and says, “Hi, I’m Brian. It’s great to meet you.” That’s it. Authentic and as real as it gets.
As a leader, doing this has an incredible impact on others.
- It disarms the other person. It erases any doubt or concerns a person has that a leader thinks he is better than someone else.
- It’s welcoming. It shows a genuine appreciation that the other person took the time and energy to make it to the room you’re in.
- It communicates sincerity and trust. A handshake is a universal sign of peace, and when you first meet someone it establishes a relationship of agreement between you and others.
A handshake and a greeting is just one of many ways to show respect to others. Kind words and encouragement, body language, demonstrating support, and good listening skills can all be great tools for respecting others as well. If you’re a leader, be strong in each of those attributes. You’ll find yourself quickly gaining the respect of others if you are.