Containing Your Power Out of Respect

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea on values-based decision-making. Reading time: 2:59

      The architect proudly illustrated his design for a new manufacturing plant. Executives nodded approvingly.

      ARCHITECTUREThen the CEO noticed that the layout of the manufacturing plant placed the loudest machines adjacent to a residential street.

      In an instant he made decision to scrap this layout in favor of a new design that inverted the plant layout, placing the other end of the plant (a quieter shipping area) adjacent to the neighbors.

      “That’ll cost us $150,000 to redo this plan,” objected the plant manager. The CEO didn’t flinch at the financial loss.” He was too focused on “treating those people who live on that street the way I would want to be treated if I lived there.”

      The CEO’s demonstration of his emotional intelligence taught his executives a keen leadership lesson that day: Just because you have the right to (fill in the blank) doesn’t make it right unless you factor in the rights of others.

Respect for Others

      Indeed the most effective leaders contain their power out of respect for others.

      ARCHITECTURE1Consider the CEO who turned down a request from a nominee for President of the United States to conduct a campaign rally at the company’s corporate headquarters building.

      Virtually all of his vice presidents favored the opportunity for the company to step into the national spotlight and reach new potential customers. After all, the candidate’s message resonated well with the values of the company.

     Yet, the CEO rejected the man who in a few months would become The Leader of the Free World, the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world.

    The CEO said he turned down the campaign request out of respect for the company’s employees who may have a different political view.

     Some highly influential board members joined a chorus of complainers company wide. They charged that the CEO had let his own politics blunt an opportunity for his company to enhanced its marketing punch and broaden its profitability margin. But the CEO demurred:

“My Republican friends think
I am a Democrat and
my Democratic friends think
I am a Republican.”

    The leadership lesson  is clear: No matter your politics, you are a leader to everyone in your company and around  your company– from employees to neighbors to regulators. They have rights that trump a leader’s might.

    And so the real power of a leader is in:  YIELDING IT — not wielding it.  Yielding it for the benefit of all. No wonder the most effective leaders contain their power.

   Out of respect for others.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Respect the rights of others to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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