Day 2 of my series on Incredible Leadership
You can check out Day 1 here!
Like Aretha told us, it all starts with a little respect. It’s the golden rule that your mom talked about all those years ago, “Treat others like you want to be treated”. Whether I’m talking to my six month old son or an Executive twice my age, those words are my personal motto. Respect and leadership work together like Captain America and Falcon, Green Hornet and Kato, or Batman and Robin. You get the idea, they’re partners. And that’s just what respect will earn you, a boatload of loyal partners.
I try to look at it this way. If I stop and think about every small thing I do, would my son admire me for my actions? To get respect and admiration, you have to give it too. Without it, your leadership will be weak. The goal is to soar as high as you can go, while lifting as many people up with you as possible. All great superheros have enthusiasm and optimism. They achieve their goals with the utmost respect for those around them. Superheros, Leaders, and Parents that know how to do this will get much more loyalty and better response from their sidekicks as a result..
Even the best superheros fail at this sometimes. Here’s a clip from Batman & Robin. I don’t own any part of this and I’m not making money off of it but I feel like it shows Batman at his least respectful leadership moment.
Batman could have done a lot of things better in this moment. Imagine Robin’s life here. Batman does not respect him or admire him. What if one day, Batman showed Robin how much he admires his hard work and dedication instead? Suddenly, Robin might actually feel a deep connection to the work and to his partner. What happens next is that sidekick that was held back for so long will start to find his place. So many times at my own job, leaders and managers make the mistake of focusing on fault with employees. Then the employees start looking for a new job and everyone left is scratching their heads and wondering why. Babies, employees, and sidekicks of all kinds want to be in an environment where they feel sincerely respected and admired.
While it’s true that sidekicks need direct supervision. Authority without respect can push them towards villainy. That’s not what we’re going for here. I want my Boy Wonder to grow up to protect Gotham, not take his revenge on it. So, if you’re looking for a way to motivate without suffocating them, it’s especially effective to let your sidekick know you are keeping track of their performance. Of course, this only works if you’ve shown them respect from the beginning. Their admiration for you will drive them to make you proud by delivering results that you want.
Respect means interacting with someone in a way that shows others you care about them. It means that you’re never too busy to listen but if you are, you make the time to hear what they have to say. It means asking questions instead of barking orders. It means showing another person that you value them. Most of all, it means treating to them the way you want to be treated.
Here’s another clip, this one is from Batman Forever. Again, I don’t own this and I’m not making any money off of it. You’ve already seen him at his worst. This is Batman taking everything we’ve talked about in this article and putting it into action.