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Achieving and Maintaining Respect as a Leader

by Guest Writter
Susan Boresow, President of TITLE Boxing Club

The role of a “leader” in this day and age is dramatically transforming as accountability, transparency, and creativity become the forefront of our efforts as opposed to simply dictating a team. Leaders are becoming less thought of as authority figures and more so team members and mentors. Keeping this in mind, we should move forward with the mentality that our authoritative qualities- respect, trust, loyalty- take time, effort, and tangible work to be earned.

In a perfect world, every business leader would not only be well liked, but unquestionably respected. Unfortunately, the two things can be challenging to obtain, as business leaders and entrepreneurs alike are faced with decisions that often do not generate a popular consensus.

As a leader in the world of franchising, I make decisions that affect hundreds of small business owners every single day. And in light of this massive responsibility, I’ve come to realize honesty and fairness are two of the most important qualities a business leader can possess. While fairness runs the risk of upsetting someone, staying true to your values and knowing at the end of the day you believe in your decisions is just as important.

Growing up in a household of 14 children, I quickly mastered the ability to compromise and try to understand multiple perspectives simultaneously. This team mentality has led me to discover that while fostering respect is a top priority, I cannot be successful without the support of my team. Over the years, I have learned that there are very specific ways to earn respect as a leader:

  • Respect your team’s expertise: You do not know everything, but combine the forces of every brain in your company and you get pretty close. Listen to everyone.
  • Work with them, not above them: Always stay connected with your team and don’t let layers get in the way. Keep in touch with people from every level of your company. Get to know something about them, their family, their hobbies, what’s important to them. Always personally acknowledge their achievements.
  • Set goals together: While the final goals for the company ultimately lies in the hands of the leader, working with your team to set goals brings a large team together for a common cause. By discussing goals with your team it creates an open environment where everyone feels as though they have had a hand in setting the direction of the company.
  • Create an organic company culture: Make your company unique. Hold Monday meetings in fun places, change your scenery, experience your brand. Enjoy your business and the people you’re surrounded with. Culture shouldn’t be forced…let your people drive the culture; leaders can set the tone, and the team will make it happen.

Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help. This comes back full circle to my emphasis on the importance of one’s team. They are there for a reason. A difficult decision should never be made in haste – the potential of backfiring is much too high and will completely unravel all of the respect that you have worked so hard to earn. Team feedback is a luxury that we should all take advantage of, no matter how right we think we are.

While everyone would love to perfect the balance between respect and likeability, it will always come down to the relationships you build. People are business, and a strong and lasting relationship will go a long way. That’s why, in this day and age, we as leaders are not only striving to gain respect, but to do so through our ability to be transparent, creative, and accountable while still being a part of the team.


About the Author

As a marketing-industry leader, Susan Boresow has steered brand vision casting for some of the most-recognized names in franchising, including McDonald’s, Sport Clips, Cold Stone Creamery, Pump it Up and Godfather’s Pizza. Most recently she served as the Chief Marketing Officer for the membership-based therapeutic massage giant, Massage Envy. Boresow has been responsible for executing compelling marketing programs along with excelling in membership-sales based models and brings a wealth of knowledge to the TITLE Boxing Club team as their new President.

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