Demanding Leadership: How to Inspire Respect and Get Results Without Being a Jerk

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You can be a results-oriented, demanding leader without being a jerk. 

All too often, being a demanding leader is confused with simply being a jerk. But if you want to see your leadership impact grow, you need to know how to be results-oriented and demanding, without the “jerk factor”.

Somewhere along the line, what it means to truly be a demanding leader came to be construed as being merely insensitive, uncaring and boorish.

On the other hand, to be seen as respectful has come to be seen, at least in some circles, as being weak.

Now, to be clear, being respectful does not, on its own, equate to effective leadership. But the idea that demanding results can’t be expressed through respectful words and actions is utterly without merit.

You can be a demanding leader without being a jerk.

It simply takes these prerequisites…

1. Understand what “demanding leadership” really is.

A demanding leader is simply someone who is committed to achieving results. They possess relentless focus and a strong desire to move people towards a shared vision.

It is not a license for rude behavior.

2. Understand that all leadership requires humility and respect.

Every person you encounter, every day, is worthy of being treated with respect. And when you begin with a respectful attitude, respectful behavior is sure to follow.

3. Understand that a focus on results does not run counter to treating people well.

It’s a fallacy to think that the leadership prize is awarded merely for crossing the finish line. What counts is to bring as many people with you as possible.

And that means treating them well along the journey.

4. Understand that to be respectful does not mean to be weak or  indecisive.

You can be demanding and results-focused and still be respectful. It simply means to be considerate; to recognize that it is entirely possible to be simultaneously clear on your expectations for results, and still treat everyone as a person worthy of respect.

Keep your eyes fixed on your goals. Remain focused on the outcomes you want to achieve. Do everything you can to keep the team aligned.

And do it all with tremendous respect towards those you are leading.

When you do, you will be setting the stage for long-term, sustainable impact.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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