Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

Respect and Self-Respect

We had a "leadership roundtable" at work today, which proved to be more interesting and less navel-gazing than I'd feared. One of the topics we covered was "what are the qualities of a leader?", and one of the qualities we talked about a bit was Respect. This helped crystallize some thoughts for me, that are just as relevant to club life as work life, so let's put a stake in the ground.

A leader needs to both have and show appropriate respect for those around him or her. Note that "respect" is not the same thing as "deference"; rather, it is starting from the assumption that people are intelligent, and that their viewpoints are valuable. That's important in a lot of ways: it's necessary in order to provide effective guidance (both to those above and below you in a hierarchy); it's necessary in order to have fruitful debate about strategy and tactics; more generally, it's necessary in order to promote a healthy environment where people like to be.

But closely related to this is that you have to respect *yourself* first. Self-respect is not arrogance -- it doesn't mean assuming that you have all the answers. But the thing is, the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the easier it is to have honest discussion in all directions. Arrogance usually comes from insecurity: people pull rank and resort to intellectual bullying when they are *not* genuinely sure of themselves. The more secure you are in yourself, the easier it is to pull your ego out of the discussion, and engage honestly with those around you. That in turn tends to gain you respect from other people, and promotes a virtuous cycle.

Thoughts? The topic of effective leadership has been somewhat on my mind lately, so talking about it explicitly at work has kind of sent the wheels turning...
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