Leadership in Social Care – Respect

People don’t follow leaders by accident. They follow individuals whose leadership they respect. Leaders follow other leaders. Imagine a scale of 10 possessing the best leadership skills and 0 possessing none. Someone who is a 7 in leadership won’t actively look for a 4 to follow. They will naturally look for a 9 or 10.

Occasionally, a stronger leader may follow a less experienced leader but this is normally for a reason. For example, they may know the directions to a conference being attended due to living in the area and follow advice on routes to take. However, followers are generally attracted to people who are better leaders than themselves. This is the law of respect.

Think of a meeting. When people get together for the first time in a group, they start interacting, the leaders in the group immediately take charge.

They begin to shape the direction they desire to travel in and who to take with them. At first, people may make moves in many different directions, but after a while, the strongest leader becomes recognised and the majority follow.

But what causes one person to respect and follow another?

Natural leadership ability

Firstly, is leadership behaviour. Some people are born with greater skills and ability to lead others. If you possess natural leadership, people will want to follow you. They will want to be around you and listen to you.

Natural leadership is not the sole ingredient however. Without some of the additional practices and characteristics listed below, you will not reach your leadership potential, and people may not continue to follow you. The biggest pitfall for natural leaders is their overreliance on talent alone.

Respect for others

Respect is key. Good leaders understand leadership is voluntary. When leaders show respect for others, especially for people with less power, they gain more respect from others. People want to follow people they respect.


Good leaders do what’s right, even when the risk is great. A leader’s courage has great value as it gives followers hope.


People are naturally drawn to success. It is even more important when it applies to people who lead us. Accomplishments are hard to argue with. When leaders are successful, people respect them. When they succeed in leading the team, then followers believe they can replicate this. As a result, followers follow them because they want to be part of success in the future.


In a culture of constant change and transition, loyalty is an asset. When leaders stick with the team until the job is done, remain loyal to the organisation at difficult points, and look out for their own even during this time, then followers respect their actions.


The greatest source of respect for a leader comes from his or her dedication to adding value to others. Followers value leaders who make them better, and their respect for them carries on long after they may eventually leave the organisation to pursue future endeavours.


Why not measure the respect you have as a leader? Who do you attract? Are they of a high calibre? Do they hold any leadership responsibilities themselves?

Next, you should ask for change and see how committed people are to following you on this journey. Respected leaders who ask for change receive a dedicated response from those who follow. They are ready to take risks and do whatever else is necessary to get the job done.

Leaders who are not respected and ask for commitment or change, receive doubt, or make excuses. They will then walk away. It is hard for a leader who hasn’t earned respect to get other people to follow.

What type of leader are you?


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