Respect in a New Era of Responsibility

by  Glen Gaugh  |  Self Leadership
Responsibility in 3 R’s

Recent events in the news indicate a need for a new era of responsibility. Lance Armstrong is the latest hero to have fallen in the public arena. In his television interview with Oprah the world discovered that he won his Tour de France title and Olympics bronze medal in cycling while using various performance-enhancing drugs and hormones. On top of this, Armstrong adamantly denied for years any allegation of cheating or doping. The public’s focus and analysis of Armstrong’s admission have eclipsed other news stories because the fall of a hero is devastating to a tremendous number of people. What is at issue is a lack of respect that displaced responsible actions.

  • A lack of respect for position leads to a breech of trust. Competitor, champion, public role model, CEO all entail the stewardship of trust. The trust was broken as a result of irresponsible behavior because he lacked respect for his position.
  • A lack of respect for experience lends to cheapening one’s influence on others. Armstrong’s survival of cancer and subsequent efforts to help others through Livestrong influenced thousands to believe they could make a difference. That influence was diminished by irresponsible behavior because he did not respect how he influenced others.
  • A lack of respect for voice cheapened the words that so many bought into wholeheartedly. Consider this quote: “This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can Push it; Study it; Tweak it; Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my a– six hours a day. What are YOU on?”

A new era of responsibility will require respect from leaders toward those who follow them. What do you see as the main obstacle to respect in the workplace? At home? In civic life and government?

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What People Are Saying

Mike Henry  |  28 Jan 2013  |  Reply

Great points Glen. He thought his job was winning races. He violated the trust of others when he forgot that people appreciated, followed, and were influenced by who he was, not what he did. He forgot that people grant influence and character-based leaders know that granting of influence comes because of who we are, not just what we do. He put the achievements ahead of the person and he showed us who he really is. Now the influence we’ve granted is being adjusted. It’s sad for everyone. We are not what we do. We are who we are and what we do proves it.

Thanks for the great post. Mike…

Glen Gaugh  |  28 Jan 2013  |  Reply

Job performance, in a company, church, or sport, only goes so far, doesn’t it? It is sad especially because some very vaild and valuable aspects of a person’s character and career get lost in the midst of scandel. That makes having a strong sense of responsibility for one’s influence so important.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Mike!

Claudio Morelli  |  28 Jan 2013  |  Reply

Glen, your post raises great points with regards to accepting responsibility. I see the two obstacles of pride and fear get in the way of leaders gaining respect from others. Pride promotes an attitude of superiority and fear prevents authenticity and vulnerability two character traits that are critical to leading and influencing others. Lance Armstrong was someone I admired. I read his book, wore the yellow bracelet. He influenced me and I respected him. Sadly, my respect for him has decreased significantly.

Thanks, Claudio

Glen Gaugh  |  28 Jan 2013  |  Reply

I agree with pride and fear as being tremendous obstacles to taking responsibility. I don’t think we really see that in ourselves so I think I sum up those two obstacles as lack of accountability. We may be either to good to allow someone else to judge us, or afraid of what we might see if someone held up a mirror for us.

No doubt many people are extremely hurt and now hindered in their pursuits in life as a result of Lance’s failure. Let’s hope that there isn’t too much faith in others lost as a result. Thanks for taking time to comment!

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