What happens inside you when you feel disrespected? Have you ever had some form of attack on your dignity, and how did that feel? Some of my strongest emotions from my Vietnam POW experience were the daily attempts by our enemy to humiliate us and destroy our dignity. So with the pain of being dissed in mind, let’s look deeper at the four dangerous traps related to dignity and respect that leaders should avoid:
1. The Trap of Domination.
At least one-third of the population has a natural behavior for being in charge and taking control of the agenda. Those of us in that category, naturally turn to power to get things done and get what we want. Being in charge and responsible for results isn’t a bad thing, but dominating others destroys their dignity and undermines respect. No one likes to be micromanaged, controlled, bullied or manipulated.
2. The Trap of Withdrawal.
Another one-third of the population will have a natural tendency to use withdrawal as a way to control and manipulate others. This is a more passive-aggressive way to gain power and dominate via stealth. Choose to follow the tactics mentioned previously for those who dominate by courageously engaging with respect and a positive attitude.
Gossiping is a widespread yet subversive way to lower others, minimize our own personal insecurities, and elevate ourselves at the same time. Not only does it create negative energy detracting from the mission, but relationally it undermines team morale and trust. To eliminate gossip, first we have to personally scrutinize ourselves to recognize and break the habit immediately.
Many leaders have a strong natural behavior for discernment and the ability to make quick judgments. It can be good in certain situations, but often it undermines the dignity of others and makes them second-class citizens. Like gossip, judging may help us feel better about ourselves, but it’s also destructive and doesn’t stand up to the Golden Rule.
Soft Skills that Make a Difference
In the Honor Code that we use in training and coaching, these seemingly soft leadership skills of displaying dignity and respect may sound simple and unimportant, but they’re foundational for long-term success and growth.
Also, read the entire article on this topic – “Four Behavioral Leadership Traps to Avoid”
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