Last week I provided a brief commentary on the importance for those in leadership to earn the trust of those they lead. That content sparked a series of discussions and responses including an email that provides a corollary to Leadership and Trust; namely, the difference between honor and respect.
This salient insight was provided by my life-long friend Doug Burleigh, a gifted leader, as well as a mentor to leaders at the highest levels of government and business in numerous settings around the world. Doug writes in response to “Leadership and Trust” (quoted in part):
I have been thinking about the difference between showing honor and respect. I watched [a major political speech because] I CHOOSE to show honor to the office. So showing honor is a decision, a voluntary choice.
Respect is a very different thing. It is, by definition, involuntary. It is earned by developing trust. I can't decide to respect a leader. I develop respect by observing how their words and actions are uplifting and congruent. What we are experiencing is a growing disrespect for our leaders...
Thank you, Doug, for pointing out an important distinction: respect, much like trust, is not automatic, it is earned.
Doug’s insight provides an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our own role in leadership: What can we each do (or stop doing) to earn the trust and respect of those we lead?