The Key Ingredient of Respected Leadership
The most respected leaders balance high standards with compassion for their people.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
What makes some leaders so respected by those around them? We’ve all encountered leaders who command loyalty and devotion from their teams, even though their styles and approaches vary widely. So what’s the secret ingredient?
As it turns out, the most respected leaders share one quality in common: They balance exceptional results with extraordinary care for their people. We’ll call it the velvet hammer approach.
On one hand, these leaders are relentless in their focus on high performance. They set ambitious goals, analyze key metrics, provide candid feedback, and do whatever it takes to hit targets. Yet they accomplish all this not through fear or intimidation, but by fostering deep relationships of trust with their teams.
Like an orchestra conductor coaxing beautiful music from musicians, they inspire people to give their all by genuinely caring for them as human beings first, employees second. Their secret is understanding each person’s hopes, fears and motivations, then connecting company priorities to individual passions.
Consider Patty McCord, former chief talent officer at Netflix. She created the viral 124-page Netflix culture deck still used in HR circles today by focusing obsessively on top talent – recruiting the best team possible, then giving them the freedom and resources to achieve excellence. That high care for people balanced with high standards for performance became the Netflix formula for success.
So if you aspire to be a respected leader, blend the velvet hammer approach into your style. Set clear expectations and be relentless on results, but back it up with authentic compassion for your team. Study people’s strengths and motivations. Customize coaching and feedback to help each person thrive. Your team will repay your genuine care for them with incredible loyalty, effort and outcomes.
That’s the one ingredient that powers the most respected leadership. Master this blend of truth and care for others, and watch your influence grow exponentially.
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
In his book "The Emotionally Intelligent Leader", authored by Daniel Goleman along with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, the authors reveal key insights about the most respected modern leaders. These leaders blend exceptional results with authentic care for their people by mastering emotional intelligence competencies.
As the book explains...
People-skills are the essential competency for leadership that inspires. The most respected leaders have a high degree of emotional intelligence - self-awareness, rapport, empathy, motivation, and leadership of others' emotions.
Leaders who speak candidly and connect authentically with staff on a human level build extraordinary trust and commitment. They understand each person's dreams and challenges.
Effective leaders empower teams to achieve peak performance by linking work goals with individuals' core values and motivations. Helping each person find deeper purpose and meaning drives satisfaction and engagement.
In summary, the leaders who have the strongest positive influence are in touch with their own and others' emotions. They create an open, caring climate where people can thrive and drive superior results fueled by passion and human understanding. This is the future of leadership.