Responsive Leadership Breeds Respect

Responsive Leadership Breeds Respect

If you were to ask 100 leaders, “What is the most important quality in a colleague, employee, or boss?” you would probably get 100 different answers.

At GiANT, however, we have found the answer to be much simpler. Throughout our work around the world and dealing with all kinds of people, challenges, and cultures, a person’s effectiveness in the workplace (and at home) really comes down to whether you decide to be one of two types of people:

  1. A responsive person
  1. A resistant person

Responsive vs. Resistant

How do you know whether someone is responsive or resistant?

Watch their life. What happens when they make a mistake? Do they blame others, become defensive, or seek to make amends? Do they refuse to accept instruction, wisdom, and learning opportunities, or do they learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for failures?

Responsive people realize when they have made a mistake and seek forgiveness and reconciliation because they are secure in who they are. That security allows them to genuinely pursue what is best for them and for others, which means not being resistant to opportunities for personal growth.

Resistant people, however, either fail to see their shortfalls or try to make excuses for them as they blame other people, fearing a perception of weakness. This resistance ultimately comes from insecurity and a sense of self-preservation in which their very attempts to hold onto the facade they try to project, actually causes them to push people away and lose their trust and respect faster.

Why You Should Care

Have you ever seen a professional sports figure admit they made a mistake by raising their hand while saying, “my bad!” That is a responsive player who is humble enough to admit their mistakes in front of millions of people.

The resistant player points a finger at their teammate while chastising, “c’mon man!” He is turning to blame as a means of trying to cover up his mistakes. But everyone saw the replay, so now he has lost respect of those who witnessed pride getting in the way of healthy team esprit de corps.

Here’s the difference when it comes to leadership and life:

Responsive leaders gain respect over time.

Resistant leaders gain scorn over time.

Responsive leaders lose fear.

Resistant leaders lose respect.

Ultimately, when your insecurity causes you to create a persona of superiority and stubbornness, you will end up blaming, fighting, yelling, and cursing to protect your image of strength and infallibility. If left unchecked, this tendency will prove toxic to relationships, inhibit growth, and eventually burn bridges.

Unfortunately, the reality is that we all struggle with responsiveness from time to time, or even day-to-day. We might have days or periods of life where we slip into resistant style leadership and struggle to embrace the edifying humility of responsiveness. But that’s where intentional self-leadership plays a crucial role. Identifying our own resistance will help us choose responsiveness, influence, and respect over self-preservation. It helps us stand firm in refusing to let pride undermine our influence with others or inhibit our own personal growth.

Trading Up

The responsiveness vs. resistance concept may seem focused on intangible, attitude type issues, but a perceptive understanding of what responsive and resistant leadership looks like can translate into helpful insights about every day issues. For example:

  • If you want to hire the right people, look for responsive candidates.
  • If you want to understand why some people are filled with drama, look for a resistant attitude.
  • If you are struggling with your own frustrations or relationships, look inward and ask whether you are being resistant or responsive in your approach to life and work.

So let’s commit to trading up for more influence and less drama. Let’s choose confidence and humility rather than pride and self-preservation. For the sake of our family and our team, let’s choose to be responsive.