12:00 PM

Authentic leaders earn the respect of their teams

By Mark Berven, President and Chief Operating Officer, Property & Casualty

Authentic leadership is, by its very nature, unique to the individual. And that’s what makes it so powerful. By earning the respect of their teams, authentic leaders can establish their own path as they develop the next generation of leaders.

A recent Fast Company article, Seven Habits of Highly Respected Leaders, inspired me to think more about the leaders I admire. There are many things new leaders can do to build respect, and many of those things can also help long-time leaders maintain it over time.

Leading by example
Great leaders set the tone for their teams, they aren’t watching from the sidelines. As the article says, a respected leader is often the hardest working person on the team. I couldn’t agree more. Roll up those sleeves and show, don’t tell.

Giving credit where it’s due
Great leaders aren’t in it for attention or fame. You can recognize an authentic leader by how they give the credit to others — they’re always looking for ways to share the limelight. Want to earn the respect of your team? Make sure the light shines brightly on them, not you.

Being more comfortable taking risks
Authentic leaders empower their teams to take risks without fear of retribution. They understand learning is a journey, not a destination, and they remind future leaders that, as they’re learning, they are also earning respect. Want to empower your team to take more risks? Make sure they know you understand failure is often one of the best ways to learn, even if the outcome isn’t ideal.

No two leaders are the same, and that’s one of the best reasons for being authentically you. One of the most important traits an authentic leader has is the respect of their teams, and that’s earned every day.