7. The Law of Respect

The Law of Respect: People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger than Themselves

Man! What a powerful introduction to the power of this law- none other than the story of Harriet Tubman! This anecdote speaks to me especially because Harriet Tubman was fondly known as Moses for leading more than 300 slaves out of slavery in the south. I love one of her most famous quotes:

I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. -Harriet Tubman

Half of my job in my current profession is waking people up to the realities of their financial bondage. You are not free so long as you remain chained to an impoverished mindset and poor habits. We must free ourselves despite how the system is designed. Anyways, back to the book!

So Harriet Tubman was allegedly a bad motha-shutyourmouth! Check this out!

So she never allowed any people she was guiding to give up. “Dead folks tell no tales,” she would tell a fainthearted slave as she put a loaded pistol to his head. “You go on or die!” p. 75

Now that’s conviction in  leadership! We have to take different tactics these days, but imagine if everybody who had a social responsibility to make change in society operated with that sense of urgency! I might have to take a page from her book- or not. *shrugs*

People don’t follow others by accident. They follow individuals whose leadership they respect. People who are an 8 in leadership (on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the strongest) don’t go out and look for a 6 to follow- they naturally follow a 9 or 10. The less skilled follow the more highly skilled and gifted. p. 76

The more leadership ability a person has, the more quickly he recognizes leadership- or its lack- in others. -p. 76

If you possess natural leadership ability, people will want to follow you. They will want to be around you. They will listen to you. They will become excited when you communicate vision. p. 79

This is cool because this means I must have some natural leadership! I’ve practiced the habit of being excited when I talk about the future and I try to find a way to empower and include the person that I’m talking to. Now, I still have plenty of room for improvement, especially when it comes to business, but it’s encouraging to hear that I’m on the right track. The key is to turn that potential energy into kinetic energy!

When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you. p. 79

Good leaders do what’s right, even at the risk of failure, in the face of great danger and under the brunt of relentless criticism. p. 80

Six Tops Ways that Leaders Gain Others’ Respect:

  • Natural leadership ability
  • Respect for others
  • Courage
  • Success
  • Loyalty
  • Value added to others

One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you. The second thing you should do is to see how your people respond when you ask for commitment or change. When leaders are respected and they ask for commitment, their people step up and sign up…Likewise, when respected leaders ask for change, followers are willing to embrace it. But when leaders who are not respected ask for commitment or change, people doubt, they question, they make excuses, or they simply walk away. It is very hard for a leader who hasn’t earned respect to get other people to follow. p. 81

The leader must know, must know he knows, and must be able to make it abundantly clear to those about him that he knows. -Clarence B. Randall


  • The last big thing that I can think of in which I had to call upon people for something that I was trying to do was for the EVF chess tournament in December. I worked with a good friend of mine to get the planning done, but it took a whole web of support from others to get it knocked out. EVF leaders and Alpha brothers provided food and supervision for the program and parents stayed around for morale. It turned out to be a great event, despite my room for improvement. Strong leaders surround themselves with strong leaders!
  • I would rank myself in the following manner:
    • Leadership Ability (8): Exude excitement when sharing vision for chess and finance
    • Respect for Others (8): Show empathy and respect for others’ situations; communicate more consistently
    • Courage (7): Whenever something makes me nervous, do it right away
    • Success Record (6): Document success and apply the lessons learned in a tangible way
    • Loyalty (7): Cultivate stronger relationships with like-minded individuals
    • Value Added (6.5): Seek more ways to help others by asking them
  • And as always, to improve leadership, I have to seek out the feedback of those who I respect. I’ll ask 5 people what they respect most about me and how I can improve.

Respect is earned and not given after all!


About Ernest Levert Jr.

Aspiring Servant-Leader studying engineering principles, financial stewardship, business management, and psychology fundamentals in order to cultivate passionate leadership, disseminate positive energy, uplift the community and ultimately create a brighter future for generations to come.
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