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Far too many officers, whether it be insecurity or ego driven, demand their due respect - for it is more important and self-serving to be recognized by rank than as an effective leader. Respect is earned by action alone, not self-gratification. Earn your subordinate's trust, and respect will come naturally.

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Comment by Matthew Trexel on April 22, 2010 at 9:52am
Ron, One can and should respect others, even if they lack credibility and trustworthiness. Speaking of movies, have you seen Facing the Giants? A football player has a loser for a dad, but the coach tells him he must respect his father because the Bible says to, and it ends up turing there relationship around. Anyone can show respect for someone who deserves it, if there is such a man. But I believe a leader and a real man will still show respect for someone whom he thinks doesn't deserve it. Being respectful is not a sign of weakness, but strength. How many disrespectful people do you run into on a daily basis at work? I think a lot of people have been bought into this "you must earn my respect" idea. It ends up being a whole lot of disrespect.
Comment by Ron Ayotte on April 21, 2010 at 7:53pm
Respect has to be earned... one can respect the rank, but not the person wearing the badge of that rank. In the Kelsey Grammer movie "Up Periscope", there was a scene when he was in a discussion with Bruce Dern's character... an Admiral. The line went like this..

"Don't you know you are addressing a superior Officer?"
No Sir... just a higher ranking one...

Credibility also goes hand in hand with respect and trust. Paul, that would make a good basis for an illustration!
Comment by Paul Combs on April 9, 2010 at 7:36am
Of course rank deserves respect, Chief - but as the illustration states, the man behind the badge must earn personal respect. In my book, trust and respect go hand in hand. I will salute, follow, and obey the rank, but if you want my sincere respect, earn it. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, Chief.
Take care.
Comment by Matthew Trexel on April 8, 2010 at 10:51am
I have to disagree with the notion that respect has to be earned. Trust is earned. Respect should be shown to superiors, subordinates, and the public. I demand that my kids are respectful of other people and I expect my fellow firefighters to do the same. It doesn't mean that you have to trust them or even like them.

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