Hopefully it is difficult to come up with a response. If so, dig deeper and think in the eyes and minds of those you lead. Hopefully there is still a struggle to remember an instance of being disrespectful. If not, read on and make a significant change today. It will be significant because being thoughtful of others accelerates their commitment, growth, and success – which in turn accelerates the effectiveness of leadership.
Being the “best” at something is the typical catalyst for someone getting the opportunity to lead others. However, it is the best that often struggle with Leadership the most. Their biggest challenge is in how they make others “feel”. While it is absolutely fantastic to be the best at what you do, leading competes with doing, and when those being led do not do something the way the “best” would, the method and tone of feedback is very important. Be cold / disrespectful and you will lose your audience, which results in failing as a leader. I have sometimes heard “I don’t have to like someone in order to work with them”. That is absolutely bogus and if the person is feeling that way, something is materially wrong. It usually starts with being disrespected, which should never happen from a leadership perspective. If it does, something has to change or it can cause more than just one relationship in an organization to crumble.
Here is a sequence of events that could easily lead to failure: Someone does something a leader disagrees with; the leader blasts them in an email; the leader did not think they were blasting them, they just had to be short and blunt in their email because they had much else to do and did not have time for a conversation, or to polish the message; and then the recipient takes offense and feels they were wrongly treated; next thing you hear is “I don’t have to like them to work for or with them”. Again, this is crazy talk. What they are really saying is…. “I don’t like working for them, but I will do only what I have to do until I can find an environment I like better. In the meantime I will do my best to avoid them”. So how about a better approach? Be respectful – polite but firm; use the right channel of communication; and slow down and address the situation – especially when it is a critical moment in the development of another person.
The absolute last thing a leader should be is the cause of drama. Think of being “thoughtful” as one of the most critical Leadership requirements. It does not take much to disrespect someone, so be mindful in how you lead.