When we understand the meaning of the word “respect”, to admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements, then it does not make sense that a leader believes respect can be demanded.
But, do Team Members respect Leaders who serve and care about them? Where is the balance? There is an underlying fear that “one’s kindness is taken for weakness”. Therefore, leaders may take the “no nonsense” approach. This is sometimes misinterpreted as arrogant, insensitive, mean-spirited and other negatives. Actually, it is a leader trying to find his/her way in leadership without being hammered by the team with criticism. The “firm approach” serves as a shield. Once ones leadership is established and accepted, then the leader and the team becomes a Family. Serving can often become laborious and discouraging to a leader when there is a lack of appreciation or care shown from the team. Those who are being served and the one serving alike, need the care that comes from “Family”. When this exists, the “Team” will accomplish the task.
If respect, then, is defined as “to admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements”, and to serve means to furnish or supply with something needed or desired, then we can conclude that we admire (respect) those who use their abilities, qualities or achievements to furnish or supply us with something we need or desire (serve), one of the greatest expressions of love.
The greatest Servant-Leader who ever lived stated that, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”. Mathew 23:11. He used his abilities, qualities or achievements to furnish or supply us with something we need or desire (serve), one of the greatest expressions of love.
Therefore, if we want respect as leaders, give love.