How to command the respect of your team

When I was a child my father would take me ice fishing with him and his buddies. I remember very clearly the first time he took me out on the ice. I was so excited to be included in his fishing trip that I couldn’t sleep the entire night prior.

So at 4:00am when my father came into the room to wake me, he was a little surprised to find me wide eyed and full of energy. When we got out onto the frozen lake I remember hearing the ice creak beneath the wheels of the truck as we slowly approached the small wooden shack that would house us from the elements for the remainder of the day.

I remember being concerned as the first ‘POP!’ resounded from the crystal floor below. But then, I took one look at my father and all of my fears where dispelled. I knew that with my father at my side I was safe from harm.

Once inside the ice cabin we lit the small heater in the corner and my father went over some of the safety rules with me. After the initial talk on safety, the wooden plank which covered the 4 foot long by 2 foot wide hole in the ice was removed. One look into the murky darkness below and I became the poster boy for ice fishing safety.

My father went over the basics with me and then showed me how to properly drop the line and how to watch it for a bite from the fish. As he instructed me, I absorbed every bit of information he shared, and followed his lessons to the tee. I never questioned him, or desired anything else but to make him proud of me, and have fun. Over the course of that day I caught half a gallon of trout, and had the time of my life.

I often think back on this story when I am in a position to lead men. My father commanded not only my loyalty, but my respect, my devotion, and I surrendered to his command on blind faith.

As I reflect on the experiences in my life it becomes clear very quickly why this is. When I joined the military I had the opportunity to see this exact style of leadership in action. I found that the leaders who where loved by the unit, who commanded the respect of the men, and who without question would be followed into a hail of on coming bullets, where those who the men saw as ‘father figures’.

All men who command this kind of following have one thing in common…

They honestly care about the well-being of there men.

No man or women will follow you willingly unless they know that you have there best interest in mind. You cannot force the loyalty or respect of your team.

Leaders who care for every person on there team are, not surprisingly, also the ones who produce the best results, because there teams care about them, and love working with them.

I blindly followed my father because I knew that he cared for me and would never allow misfortune to come to me if he could help it. Because of this, I also wanted to make him proud. The men and women you lead are the same way. They seek approval, desire respect, and want to be lead by someone who is more concerned about them, than about their wallet.

Give your team respect and care about them as people, and you will see an amazing change in the attitudes and production of your team. True concern for your people builds respect, loyalty and great results. You will find that when you give to your team, they will give back to you.

Mike Bosse

About the author
Mike Bosse is the founder of He is also the editor for the “LeadershipForge Newsletter” a weekly publication which reveals hidden methods to improve your leadership skills in a goal oriented world.