I was recently talking with a colleague about someone he knows who is currently in a “senior” position at a software company. He mentioned that the person – let’s call him “Tim” was having some problems with his employees. The problem Tim had was that his employees weren’t  - in his eyes – giving him enough respect. I asked some questions about Tim, and it turns out that he hadn’t really done anything to earn his team’s respect – according to Tim, you see, his position of authority entitled him to respect. If Tim were the president of the company – or chief something or other, I’d be more apt to give him a handful of “position related respect”, but just because Tim runs a small organization doesn’t, in my mind, give him reason to demand respect.

To me, this is silly. You don’t get a free pass on respect just because you’re in charge. Assuming he’s competent, Tim wouldn’t have to to a lot to earn his team’s respect. He just hast to do something to earn it. I’m not asking for a special q&a session or anything specific at all. Just show the team that you know what you’re doing. They know you got to your position because you have proven yourself capable, but so far, they haven’t seen it. Show them that you both know something, and that you know your limitations. Have a combination of vision and humility and have some attention to detail. You can do more, but you certainly don’t have to re-demonstrate everything that got you to your position. You do, however, have to give people a reason to respect and follow you. The better the reason, the closer they will follow.

I gave this advice to my friend – I hope Tim can be successful.