page title icon 290: Gregg Ward – Leadership is About Respect

Gregg Ward Show Notes Page

Gregg Ward was working with a colleague who he became best buddies with. They would hang out, party, and spend time together, but after some performance slip-ups, Gregg (who was the leader of the organization) was put in a position where he needed to deal with the issues that his friend was having at work. Because their relationship was not based on respect, his colleague did not agree with his decision and things went ugly from there. From that mistake Gregg realized how important respect is between any relationship whether personal or professional.

Gregg Ward is the CEO of the Gregg Ward Group, a management consulting, training and coaching firm that focuses on helping leaders develop their Respectful Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Executive Presence skills. For over 25 years, Gregg has worked with Fortune 100 and 500 organizations around the world to inspire respect and leadership, emphasizing the measurable, bottom-line benefits they bring to leaders and their organizations. Gregg is also the Founder & Executive Director of the non-profit Center for Respectful Leadership.

After graduating from Boston University and working as a theatre professional around the U.S., Gregg started his career in the 1980s as a specialist trainer for the New York City Police Department. Collaborating with a team of experts, he developed a powerful experiential learning program for police officers based on Live Theatre Training techniques and the performance, improv, and facilitation skills that Gregg was incorporating into his onstage performances. This program was considered a huge success by NYPD’s leadership, and was featured in major media including The New York Times and CNN.

Since then, Gregg has developed, delivered, and facilitated thousands of keynote addresses, experiential learning programs, and executive coaching sessions for a wide range of global clients including ADP, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Harley-Davidson, InterContinental Hotels Group, Kaiser Permanente, Kraft Foods, Novartis, Qualcomm, Raytheon, Siemens, the University of California, the US Navy, and Warner Brothers Studios.

A former journalist on assignment throughout Europe for BBC Radio, Scotland on Sunday, and other UK media, Gregg is also the author of the best-selling, award-winning business book The Respectful Leader.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @GreggWardGroup get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

“The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” – Click to Tweet

“The Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” – Click to Tweet

“Respectful leadership is the golden and platinum rule working in concert together.” – Click to Tweet

“Most people do not like to be told they must respect someone else based solely on their authority or position.” – Click to Tweet

“If you’ve been elevated into the responsibility of being a leader, it’s your job to earn the respect of the people that you lead, and you do that by  treating them with respect first.” – Click to Tweet

“As a leader, it’s your job to respect first before insisting that others respect you.” – Click to Tweet

“If you’re not managing your emotions well, it will ripple like an infection throughout your organization.” – Click to Tweet

“Respect is a foundation of a good relationship, either a working relation or even a personal relationship.” – Click to Tweet

“Don’t try to stop disrespect with more disrespect.” – Click to Tweet

“Turn the other cheek and don’t ascribe negative intention.” – Click to Tweet

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou” – Click to Tweet

“If people feel respected by you, they’ll walk off a cliff for you, they will step up, and they will be loyal to you.” – Click to Tweet

“Respect is a great equalizer and a good motivator.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Gregg Ward was working with a colleague who he became best buddies with. They would hang out, party, and spend time together, but after some performance slip-ups, Gregg (who was the leader of the organization) was put in a position where he needed to deal with the issues that his friend was having at work. Because their relationship was not based on respect, his colleague did not agree with his decision and things went ugly from there. From that mistake Gregg realized how important respect is between any relationship whether personal or professional.

Advice for others

Don’t get spun up. Learn to meditate.

Holding him back from being an even better leader


Best Leadership Advice

Leave clean. If you decide to leave a job, don’t leave it in a mess. Clean it all up so people will remember you well after you’re gone.

Secret to Success

I am a positive and assume the best in people.

Best tools in business or life

Reflective or mirror listening.

Recommended Reading

The Respectful Leader

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Contacting Gregg Ward

Gregg’s LinkedIn:

Gregg’s Twitter:

Center for Respectful Leadership website:


Show Transcript

[expand title=”Click to access unedited transcript”]

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, fast leader, Legion, tram excited, because I’m actually

Jim Rembach (00:04):

Like with many of these shows, we’re going to get to work on something I need to focus in on. But I’m certain that this particular topic is an area, especially with the time that we’re in right now is something that everybody can learn immensely from, by our guests that we have on the show today, Gregg ward was born and raised on the North shore of long Island, about 40 miles outside of New York city. And as he was growing up, he frequently went into the city with his parents to see theater music and sporting events. Gregg is the second of three boys and a classic middle child who often mediated his brother’s fights and each other, and their parents Gregg’s father was a famous sports writer for the New York daily news who frequently and invited major sports stars over to the house, including Joe Nemeth, Stanley cup, winning New York Islanders, and perhaps most influentially the boxer Muhammad Ali who became a regular guest.

Jim Rembach (00:55):

Gregg is fond of telling the story about how he met Ali when he was a boy and the piece of advice that he gave him. He said, you respect yourself. You respect other people and you’ll do okay. This was an important lesson for Gregg one, which he carried with him throughout his life and career. Eventually leading him to work as a consultant facilitator and coach on leadership with a strong focus on respect and what Gregg calls perspective leadership Gregg’s career is circuitous to say the least. He often tells people that he’s lived four lives, one as a professional actor and writer and director in New York, two as a freelance correspondent and feature writer three as a specialist trainer for the NYP D and four as a consultant facilitator and executive coach. After his second book, the respectful leader of business fable about how to influence others without intimidation was published by John Wiley and sons in 2016, it quickly became an award winning bestseller.

Jim Rembach (01:55):

Gregg realized that his legacy would be focused on educating the world on respect and respectful leadership. As a result in 2019, he founded and serves as the executive director for the center for respectful leadership, a nonprofit dedicated to research, ongoing dialogues, training and coaching. In addition to Gregg’s keynote speeches and workshops center’s team is currently developing a suite of online learning programs scheduled for launch this year. Gregg is an avid tennis player in a longterm relationship with small business owner, Kathleen Aron, and has one son Lee from a previous marriage who works in sustainable gardening in Seattle and two stepdaughters, Kate and attorney in Washington, DC and Ali, a teacher and Madrid, Spain, Gregg ward. Are you ready to help us get over the hump? I am ready. Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. I really appreciate it well, and I’m glad you’re here now. I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better? Sure, absolutely. Right now I am in the midst of sending out the message to the world about the importance of

Gregg Ward (03:00):

Respect and what I call respectful leadership, helping folks understand that respect is actually a very powerful motivator and a driver of connection and loyalty. Uh, and from a customer service point of view, respect is amazingly powerful and effective at driving sales.

Jim Rembach (03:19):

Well, and as you say that, I mean, you and I have had the opportunity to chat before we actually hit record here. And we had some great discussion that I’m hoping we can pull into this episode, but your book that we’re talking about and the insights from it, uh, as well as your body of work as well, uh, is about a fable and a character in it called Dez. So if you could introduce us to Dez,

Gregg Ward (03:41):

Sure. Dez is a 30, some odd year old guy who was previously the chief operating officer of a company that was owned by a large conglomerate. And the CEO of the conglomerate said, Hey, you would be good to take over this medical device manufacturing firm that I’ve got out in San Diego. I’m going to put you in as CEO and the moment Dez arrives, he realizes that what he’s gotten himself into is a, is a big, hot mess. Uh, the staff, all of the senior leadership absolutely have no respect for each other. They’re losing money left right and center their, their best, uh, product is in the midst of, of stalling and the R and D department and customer services is nonexistent. It is an absolute mess. And he’s been tasked to turn this thing around and do it with very little help, very little money, very little staff, and do it immediately. So that’s Dez his challenge at the beginning

Jim Rembach (04:42):

Of the book. Well, um, and then talking about that, that the person who he reports to, you know, that person was more of, Hey, are you whipping everything into shape? And if you’re not whipping everything to the shape, you’re going to get whipped. I mean, basically comes out and tells them, you know,

Gregg Ward (05:00):

Six to eight, you could either, you either do this or I’ll get rid of you just like I got rid of the last guy. So essentially what does walks into his, uh, he’s being told by his boss that he needs to get everybody’s shipshape and do it real fast. And nobody wants to cooperate with that because there’s no trust. There’s no respect amongst the entire group. And so what desert essentially does is he tries the old fashioned command and control way. I’m the boss now my way or the highway kind of thing. And that makes things even worse. But he’s really fortunate in that there’s a maintenance lady who happens to somehow be around whenever the poop is hitting the fan. And she takes him aside one day and says, you know, maybe try a little respect. You might get a little better response that way. And he blows her off. But over time he keeps making mistakes, keeps ordering people around, keeps pissing everybody off. And he finally learns to listen to her advice and she becomes an ally to him and eventually with her help and why winning the respect of everybody else in the organization, he is able to turn that thing around. And the fable is essentially around how important respect is in any kind of professional or even personal relationship.

Jim Rembach (06:25):

Well, and even as you’re saying that, I find if we’re talking about emerging leaders. So, you know, I have, um, a leadership Academy called call center coach for those in customer service and contact centers and, uh, really helping that, that emerging new leader. And quite frankly, we’ve even had some people who’ve been supervisors as far as title for a long time. That really haven’t had the opportunity to get a lot of development, you know, but when I start thinking about that young, innocent, you know, leader, who’s just on their path is it is so easy to fall into some of the things that you’re talking command and control is easy. Yeah. Very simple. I mean, I’ve got this, we’ve got this stuff to do. Let’s get it done. And it’s, you know, Hey, if not, you know, go on. It’s the other part where you talk about the value component to the respect component. That’s the hard part.

Gregg Ward (07:19):

It’s hard because we haven’t been necessarily exposed to it or no one’s ever talked about it as being important. And part of the challenge for all of us. And I know I was, my dad was a former Marine, a great father, wonderful dad, but when my dad gave an order, he expected it to be followed without question. That was that. And my mom to a certain degree too. So most of us were raised in what I call command and control households. The other leadership style that we see a lot of, especially you’ll see it in sales and customer service is what’s called the carrot and stick leadership style. Hey, I’m the boss do. As I say, you’ll get rewarded for it. But if you screw up, you’re going to get the stick. You’ll get punished for it. Well, you know, in certain situations that works really well.

Gregg Ward (08:05):

For example, commission based sales. When I was going through college, I sold subscriptions to the Boston ballet. I went to Boston university, I got a job selling subscriptions. I got minimum wage, but I got really nice commission. And because I have the gift of gab and I would be very informal and pleasant and friendly with everybody I talked to, I did great. I put myself through college selling subscriptions because I knew the deal. I knew that if I followed the script and I followed the process and I brought my pleasant friendly self and respectful self to the process by golly, I was going to get the carrot at the end of the process. And I got a lot of carrots. And if I screwed up, I’m like, yeah, I screwed up. I’ll do better next time. And so that relationship, that leadership style worked for me in that situation, command and control also works in a police or military environments.

Gregg Ward (08:59):

If, if we’re active duty military, we’re in the middle of a firefight, we don’t have time to stand around and say, well, Jim, what are your thoughts on this? So, Oh, Hey Suzy, do you see it any differently? No. Somebody has to take control and say, you, you do this and you, you do that. And that’s how lives are saved. So command and control, carrot and stick. These are very, very familiar to all of us. And none of it has anything to do with about respect, trust, building, personable, friendly relationships, and that comes later as adults.

Jim Rembach (09:30):

Okay. Um, I’ll ask the question that later about adult thing.

Gregg Ward (09:37):


Jim Rembach (09:39):

It’s very common, you know, to have the carrot and stick. I mean, it’s taught a lot. Um, and then we also have the command and control, but then I’m starting to think about,

Gregg Ward (09:49):

Talk about situational leadership or,

Jim Rembach (09:51):

You know, but no, you’re talking about respectful leadership. And so you talk in the book that there’s seven respectful dues. There would be the first respect, practice, regular respect, uh, the respect worthy, uh, look for diamonds in the rough, you know, get your shift together. Oh, that’s S H I F T. Um, and then it’s nip disrespect in the bud respectfully and then offer a full apology with disrespect. And I mean, for me and you and I had talked about this as I see myself struggling with all of those, I see, even in my own house that heck man, I’ll do command and control. I’ll do carrot and stick auto and what I need to do a better job of as a respectful thing, partly because of how I grew up and where I grew up. And, and so when I start, you know, looking about this type of leadership and I talk, you know, talking about that situational and all that stuff really kind of encapsulate this for us,

Gregg Ward (10:46):

Respectful leadership. Well, we’ve all heard of the old phrase, the golden rule do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And that’s good. And you’ll see it in every culture. Every religious text has that golden rule in there. The problem with the golden rule is it assumes everybody wants to be done unto the same way. And we all know that’s just not true. What you consider Jim to be respectful to. You may not be what I consider to be respectful to me. So what I propose that leaders do is add in what’s called the platinum rule that was developed by dr. Tony Alessandra. Uh, who’s an expert on interpersonal scales leadership skills. And he’s just wonderful. I wrote a book called the platinum rule and essentially the platinum rule says, do unto others as they would have you do unto them. So for me, the simplest way to describe respectful leadership is the golden rule do unto others, as you would have them do unto you and the platinum rule do unto others as they would have you do on to them working in concert together.

Gregg Ward (11:52):

So that’s essentially what I’m saying. There’s some little practices inside of that. The first one is be the first to respect. There’s a kind of myth out there that you, if you’re my boss, um, should be respected automatically because you’re my boss. What we have found is most people do not like to be told they must respect someone else based solely on their authority or position. In fact, the research tells us that most people really bristle at that. They find it disrespectful. If the boss says you must respect me or respect the badge or respect the bars on my shoulder, most people find that offensive. Instead, what I argue is that if you’re, if you’ve, if you’ve been elevated into the responsibility of being a leader, it’s your job to earn the respect of the people that you lead. And you do that by treating them with respect first and nine times out of 10, what we find is they will reciprocate with respect to you.

Gregg Ward (13:00):

So it’s your job, in my opinion, as a leader to respect first, before insisting that others respect you, does that make sense? Most definitely. Great. Great. One of the others I want to expound upon is a little play upon words that I always have fun with. Uh, we call it, get your shift together. And what that’s all about is not me. Um, um, being foul, using foul language, but it’s more about getting your attention to what we call your emotional shift. And I know many of you, your listeners have done work on emotional intelligence. And what we do know is this is any leader who’s in any kind of position of authority. He’s going to have problems being thrust upon them all the time, and you’re going to, because you’re a human being naturally react to those problems. And sometimes those problems are going to be big and you’re going to vent.

Gregg Ward (13:56):

You’re going to be upset. There’s going to be a sense of emotion coming out of you and what your job as a leader is to get that emotional shift together before it infects the people who work for you, because they’re watching you, they’re watching you like a Hawk and they’re reading the emotional influences that’s coming off of you. And if you’re not managing that stuff well by golly, it will just ripple like an infection throughout your organization. And this is why leaders, especially in the C suite must be so careful to manage their emotional life. Well, because if they don’t, it will infect the entire organization. And I call that getting your shift together.

Jim Rembach (14:40):

Well, as you’re talking, I start thinking about, um, you know, intent and, and I’m, I’m wanting to ask the question or I’m thinking about, should I rather, or not? It’s a brand new situation, brand new potential relationship. And that whole trust hasn’t been built yet. Or even if it’s an existing one that you overtly say, you know, I expect myself to show you respect, but then you know what? I expect you to return it.

Gregg Ward (15:08):

You could, but I found it’s redundant. I found, if you just tell your team, you know what folks I’m going to hold myself to a high standard of respect and treat you with respect to the best of my ability. They’ll go, Oh, that’s cool. And, uh, what we find is it’s one thing to say that, but when you start actually practicing what I call, as you mentioned, the seven respectful dues, they will pick up on it big time and they will reciprocate respect. It’s basically reciprocal, respect. It works. It really is very powerful and it works very well. And there’s, there’s some neuroscience involved in that. And I only recently learned about this in the last five or six years, about how, when, uh, let’s say for example, Jim, um, you’re my boss and you treat me in a way that I consider using the platinum rule in a way that I consider respectful.

Gregg Ward (16:02):

Well, my brain perceives that treatment of me at a very base level and my amygdala, the, uh, what I call the drugstore of the brain sends a message to release a hormone called oxytocin. And I’m sure you’ve heard of oxytocin is the bonding hormone, the love hormone? Well, I feel good when you treat me in a way that I consider respectful and that actually kind of radiates through my body. And the thing of it is I will not only treat you with respect back, but also the other people I come into contact with with respect as well, because I’m feeling good. So, and then eventually I will start thinking about what you did. And if you continue to treat me in a respectful way, I’ll continue to have those little hits of oxytocin. And then eventually I’ll put on a pair of sunglasses and across the lenses that says respectful person.

Gregg Ward (16:58):

And every time I see you and encounter you, I will perceive you through this lens of respectful person. And so I’ve developed, what’s called an unconscious or a bias that basically an ongoing bias in favor of you. Of course the opposite is also true. If you treat me in a way that I consider disrespectful and what’s fascinating about many leaders think, well, if I treat them the way I like to be treated, then it’ll be okay. That’ll be considered respectful. That’s not the case. You, as a leader, have to find out what do your team consider to be respectful and what they consider to be disrespectful? So let’s say you, we treat each other in a way that we consider disrespectful. My brain’s going to release a number of hormones, and I’m sure you all know adrenaline. The other is cortisol the stress hormone. And there’s a third hormone that I can barely pronounce them.

Gregg Ward (17:49):

Tickets, Neil, repor nephron or something like that. What, but all these, this hormonal cocktail in our system, it triggers the fight flight freeze response in us. We actually feel under threat. It’s not a huge threat, like I’m going to die, but it does create a physical sensation in our bodies. And if you continue to treat me in a way that I consider disrespectful or vice versa, eventually I’ll put on a pair of sunglasses that say, disrespectful person, I’ll have this unconscious bias going on towards you. And every time we interact, we’re going to have an issue and that can destroy trust. It could destroy partnership. It could make it really difficult for people to work together and achieve a common goal. And that’s why I’m constantly running around the world saying, we must talk about respect and how important it is. Well, as you’re talking, um, there are so many different things running in my mind and I can’t help, but think about where we are right now with some of the racial issues that are happening on throughout the entire globe. Yes. And for me, I see disrespect happening from all areas, all directions. That’s ridiculous. I mean, yeah. It’s, you know, I think that’s what for me is so frustrating when you see those things occurring and you just want everybody to take a, take a step back. You really do. You really do in that class respect to getting your shift together.

Gregg Ward (19:21):

There, we have a history in this country, of course, of racism. That that’s just a fact. And, uh, there’s a, there’s a history of documented evidence around police brutality, but that doesn’t mean all police are horrible racist. Uh, and it doesn’t mean all protesters are left wing radicals. Um, but the vast majority of us are somewhere in the middle. And what we, what most of us want is decency fairness, and to be treated with respect, whether we’re cops, whether we’re protesters and so on. So what we’re trying to do at the center is to educate people on how important respect is as a foundation of a good relationship, either a working relationship or even a personal relationship. You mentioned your, your children. If we can help them understand the nature of respect and how it drives all of our interactions and underpins it, I believe that we can move through all of these troubles that we’re having provided our leaders.

Gregg Ward (20:30):

And that’s why we call this the center for respectful leadership provided our leaders are willing to, to move forward on this provided. They’re willing to accept and understand how powerful respect is because, you know, disrespect can be very powerful too. You, you can drive all sorts of things with disrespect and you might even lead and win. Uh, the example I often give is, is if you’re working in an environment where the boss is incredibly disrespectful, filled with command and control, and you’re, you’re desperately in need of the job. And you’ll put up with just about any, anything, because you need the job. And so you, you hate your boss. You probably hate your job, but you need it because you need the health benefits or you need the money or whatever the reason is. Um, you could sustain that for a little while, but for most people, if they see any other option, they will get the heck out of there. And meanwhile, while their, their productivity’s down, their commitment, their loyalty, you name it. There’s a laundry list of negative impacts of disrespect. And the problem is a lot of leaders don’t even think about that. They don’t, they’re so fixated on the numbers. They’re so fixated at it. Let’s go, let’s get it done. Let’s get it done. That they forget that respect is a, is a vital ingredient.

Jim Rembach (21:51):

Well, and I think you just opened up the door to where you’re talking about as a five, you know, um, don’ts as far as risks, how about respectful? Don’ts, don’t try to stop disrespect with more disrespect, right? Tolerate disrespect, be distracted, don’t minimize the power of respect and then don’t stop practicing respectful leadership. And so for me, I think your first one, which is don’t try to stop disrespect with more disrespect is one of the most difficult challenges that I have. I mean, growing up with three brothers growing up in a blue collar world, I mean, you know, w we used to use sarcasm heavily. I find myself using it to the point to where it diminishes and disrespects. I mean, that’s, that’s how I was, you know, um, indoctrinated,

Gregg Ward (22:39):

By the way, it’s, it’s not a socioeconomic. I was raised w we were pretty wealthy. My dad was a famous sports writer. We were pretty wealthy when I was growing up my brothers and I, Oh my goodness. We would just rip into each other and tear each other apart. Interestingly, now,

Jim Rembach (22:55):

Certainly with my older brother, I have a loving, one

Gregg Ward (22:57):

Powerful relationship with him, and we are truly respectful of each other, but we had to get there through work. We had to work at it. We had to pay attention to it. We had to figure out a way to love each other. And it took a while. And I’ll be honest. I haven’t found that way to do that with my younger brother. And I’m supposedly an expert in this. So a family dynamics are incredibly challenging. And I think that the first don’t respectful, don’t around. Don’t try to stop disrespect with more disrespected. Where that came from actually was, was gosh, about 25 years ago. Uh, when I was, when I moved to California and everybody drives on the freeway out here, it’s know, it’s you go to

Jim Rembach (23:46):

The store, you drive in the freeway

Gregg Ward (23:47):

And people would cut each other off driving 80, 95 miles an hour. And I used to get so angry and I’d, you know, do the bird. And I would Hawk at it. Sometimes

Jim Rembach (23:58):

I was, if I had at least a really fast car,

Gregg Ward (24:00):

I compete with them and cut them up. And I’m thinking, one day, I thought, boy, this is, this is not healthy, but I don’t know what to do about it. And I didn’t do anything about it. And then my now ex wife called me up and said, Hey, our son’s been hurt in an accident at school. Can you get to the hot he’s at the house,

Jim Rembach (24:23):

The emergency room? Can you get there?

Gregg Ward (24:25):

How far, how fast do you think I drove? How many people do you think I cut off? And so now what I finally realized is that it is possible that the person who just cut me off is actually heading to the emergency room because their kid just got hurt, or they’re, there’s a family emergency, or, or what have you. So is that likely, nah, it’s probably, they’re just late or they’re inconsiderate, or they’ve got a fast car and they want to drive fast, but by a scribing, by having an intention and a scribing, a, um, non-aggressive non negative emotion or non negative intention to that other person, I actually free myself from the need to be disrespectful back. Now, that’s a very long winded way of saying turn the other cheek and don’t ascribe negative intention, but that’s essentially what I’m asking us all to do. Don’t flip the bird

Jim Rembach (25:26):

At the person who zooms by you on the freeway.

Gregg Ward (25:29):

Just assume the possibility. That’s all that may be there on the way to the room

Jim Rembach (25:33):

Emergency room or somebody giving birth to a child

Gregg Ward (25:36):

Or somebody who’s been injured. Maybe that’s a possibility, and that will give you just enough room to go, okay. I don’t need to lose my cool here and bang on them,

Jim Rembach (25:45):

The steering wheel and be all disrespectful. Well, for me, I mean, what’s your sort of talking about, there was the whole empathy and compassion component, right? So like, so when we were talking about the responses, Hey, let’s, let’s, you know, what people are doing in a lot of instances are trying to squash disrespect or what they perceived as disrespect with more of a disrespect. And at some point it has to end. And it,

Gregg Ward (26:09):

It just escalates. I know from my ex

Jim Rembach (26:13):

Parents that you have a lot more knowledge about this, but in customer service, um,

Gregg Ward (26:18):

Nine times out of 10, when a customer’s upset on the phone and, you know, screaming in your ear yeah.

Jim Rembach (26:23):

About how horrible your company is and all this stuff,

Gregg Ward (26:26):

It’s just because they felt disrespected or treated unfairly or, or screwed over some way. And they, and they have no filter. They, they, they feel

Jim Rembach (26:37):

Or a representative of the organization.

Gregg Ward (26:39):

And, and so they’re going to let you have it. And the thing I’ve found folks, who’ve been in the business for awhile and you, and I know the turnover is really high in that business of the folks who have sinned, who have lasted longest. They don’t take it personally. They, they understand they use respect language and, uh, they apologize sincerely on behalf of the organization. And they try to pivot it to let’s see how we can help you rather than push back and say, Hey, don’t you talk to me like that because it doesn’t work. But when you try to help somebody, even if they’re incredibly upset, they’ll, they will eventually calm down, uh, as long as they feel like they’ve been heard, if you deny that that, that their complaint is valid, them they’ll keep being disrespectful. So it’s an interesting dynamic. And one which old timers who’ve stuck with it in my experience have learned

Jim Rembach (27:28):

What you’re saying is, you know, um, there’s several things that could assist with people to be able to essentially impact the customer experience. But I also have to come to the situation where there’s people who are just, you know, over the edge.

Gregg Ward (27:41):

Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah.

Jim Rembach (27:43):

I mean, they’ve gotten to the point to where there is no rational thinking that’s going on. Right. The things I even say quite often is that you can’t talk the rationality into.

Gregg Ward (27:55):

Right. Right. But you can deescalate them. You can say certain things such as I hear you, I understand are I would be upset too. Uh, most, not everybody, but most reasonable people will respond to that, to that kind of language. As long as it comes from your heart, as long as it’s sincere, there are always, it’s funny. I, you know, by, by my leadership trainees, people I work with in my leadership programs say to me, well, what if you’ve got a boss who’s deliberately, uh, what we call poking the bear deliberately being disrespectful, uh, just to get a rise out of you or just to cause chaos. And you know what? We have leaders in our world who do just that. That’s, that’s what they’re all about. And I’m no psychologist, but I just, I just say, well, it sounds like there’s somewhere on the continuum of sociopathy.

Gregg Ward (28:50):

And, um, my fallback position with a sociopath is, is I, I just say, I’m sorry, I have to go to the restroom. And I just walk away. I just get out of there because you, you will not win. And if you try any of the techniques that we ascribed, try to be decent, try to be respectful. They will twist that around it and use it against you. Uh, so you know, the best thing you can do is just walk away from it. I know that’s kind of hard to customer service. You’re not supposed to hang up on, on a customer. Um, you could, you could request that they breathe. You, you could request that they hold off on their complaints. Um, you could try to talk to them to death before they get a word in edgewise, or just let them vent. Just let them go, let them go, let them go. And it might go on for a while. You could hold the phone away. Um, it’s tough dealing with sociopath’s well, okay. So ultimately what you’re talking about is there’s, there’s at a higher level, there’s two different types of respect, so that you mentioned and tell us what they are. Well, there’s some really interesting research

Speaker 4 (29:59):


Gregg Ward (30:00):

The first type of respect is what, what I would call instant respect. It’s based upon mostly visual cues. I’ll give you a classic example, uh, for most of us, if we are, um, walking through a, uh, street fair and where I’m looking at the art we’re looking at where maybe buying some food and stuff like that. And we see a cop standing there in the street fair, kind of just looking around, looking all, just kind of being there. Um, most of us would, uh, instantly be respectful towards that. Police officer might say hello, or, or what have you, uh, now, if, if you, and this is true of me, have had some run ins with the police, um, you might not give that cop respect in that moment. Uh, you might avert your eyes. You might walk away from them, but it’s unlikely that you’re going to try to, um, uh, instantly be disrespectful in public to that police officer.

Gregg Ward (31:05):

That that’s unlikely again, if you’re a sociopath, that’s a whole different thing. So, uh, my point is, is that respect can be, uh, instantly triggered based upon visual cues. And it has nothing to do with knowing who the person is. The second type of respect is what’s called developed respect and develop respect usually happens in relationships that have rolled out over time. Uh, I’ll give you another example. Um, let’s say that you and I at first start to work together, and this is our very first day we greet each other. Hi, Jim. Hi, Gregg. Nice to meet you. It’s pleasure. What have you done in the past, blah, blah, blah. We have a nice chit chat. Okay. It’d be, it’s going to be great to work with you. And then over time, uh, every time we get together, you smile, you say hello, we have a nice interaction.

Gregg Ward (31:53):

We never, uh, you know, get, uh, have a confusion with each other. And we work well together. Eventually I will develop a level of respect for you because you’ve treated me in a way that I find disrespectful. And of course the opposite is also true. If we continue to butt heads in our interactions with each other, eventually I’ll have that lens that says disrespectful. So the first type of respect is instant and it can happen with anybody and it could be also instant disrespect as well. And the second type is developed respect or developed disrespect. Well, and this respect leads to something that you have found is in, uh, in all something that’s important in all higher performing organizations. And what is that that you’ve found? Well, what we’ve found is, is, is in with, uh, what the research that Google has done. Uh, you may have heard about it as creating what are called psychological and psychological safety, uh, that they researched their highest performing teams.

Gregg Ward (32:52):

And what’s fascinating is, you know, in, in the diversity and inclusion world, uh, there was the belief that a highly diverse team is more likely to be effective as a team. And there is some data that supports that, but only if that team has high levels of psychological safety. In other words, people feel safe speaking their minds, that they don’t feel they’re going to be shot down or treated with sarcasm or abuse, uh, when they put their ideas out there, where, where there’s a level of fairness where everyone feels they can contribute or not. And no one’s being put on the spot and no one is monopolizing the spotlight. So psychological safety in concert with a highly diverse team, those are the ones that have the highest performing results. And that is ideally what we want to strive for. I believe in most of our organizations now, why is the diversity part so important?

Gregg Ward (33:52):

It’s mostly for diverse perspectives, diverse experiences. Jim, you were raised in Chicago, I’m from New York. We have complete, you know, big cities, big American cities. The assumption is, Hey, we must be a lot. Uh, like, uh, New York is a city of neighborhoods, just like Chicago is. And each one is unique and distinct and we have all sorts of different experiences. So the diversity of thought, diversity of experience, the diversity of ideas, and combined with the safe, psychological space. Bingo, you’ve got yourself, a high performing team. Well, without a doubt, all of this requires us to have some resilience and, um, you know, really there’s some focus. One of the things that we look on the show to help us with that, our quotes, is there a quote or two that you’d like that you can share? Yes. Thank you so much for asking the one.

Gregg Ward (34:39):

I always go back to, when I talk about respectful leadership is Maya. Angelou’s famous quote, where she said, people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel, feel people will forget. Yeah. What you said, forget what you did, but they’ll know ever forget how you made them feel. And as a leader, that is something I, I want to put it on a poster, put it up on your wall, because if you get that right, if people feel respected by you, they’ll walk off a cliff for you, they will step up. They will be loyal when the going gets tough. When there’s a crisis like we’re living through now with this pandemic, people will step up. But if they’ve never felt respected by you, if they’ve never got the sense in their guts, that you have a level of respect and caring and empathy for who they are, people you’ll lose them. You’ll lose fast. And if there’s another opportunity somewhere else, they can go to, even if it’s lesser pay, but they feel like they’re going to be respected and make a contribution. They’re gone. Respect is a great equalizer and a hell of a good motivator.

Jim Rembach (35:48):

Well, we have struggles and all that. Right. And you talked about one, um, that you had, I’ve had them talked about the ongoing one with not battling back with disrespect, but do we talk about getting over the humps on the show because we can learn so much from them. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share? Yes, there’s quite a few.

Gregg Ward (36:09):

Uh, I had at one time a colleague who was really bright and, and really talented, and he, uh, went to work for me and I was the leader of the organization. My mistake was in becoming best buddies with this guy in that we would hang out, we would drink, we would party together. We would do things together all the time. And it wasn’t based so much on respect. It was based more on, uh, we had fun together. We enjoyed each other’s company. Well, then he had some performance ups. There were issues that came up. And when I tried respectfully to give him feedback and to set goals and expectations, he basically said, screw you. He had no respect for me because he’d seen me behave like a frat boy who didn’t care. And so I learned a very bad, I eventually had to let him go and it was ugly.

Gregg Ward (37:15):

And it scarred me to this day that happened nearly 20 years ago. I will never forget that mistake. Now, what that, the way I’ve interpreted it, unfortunately, and this is the only way I can function. I tend not to socialize with the people who work for me because I’ve learned the lesson that if I, I, I’m a very personable guy, I let my hair down. I’m very informal. And if I let that happen with people who work for me, their respect for me goes down. So I don’t do it. I’m still there with them. If we have, uh, an, uh, an organized company event that I’m leading, I am there, I’m the cheerleader. I’m said, let’s dance. Everybody let’s have fun. Uh, but I will not one on one. Uh, let all my hair down

Jim Rembach (38:01):

With my individual employees. Cause I just feel that,

Gregg Ward (38:04):

That, uh, I need to have respect for them and their personal space and who they are as well as respect for myself and not let it

Jim Rembach (38:13):

Go that far. Well, I think that’s really important information. Um, because I think we, you could probably apply the same thing, why we have different experiences at home as well, because we’ve let our hair down at home. And therefore the respect things are harder in the house than it is a way. So, but what I, when I start looking at your work, um, you know, writing the books, the coaching and consulting, the other careers you’ve had, but then you have this nonprofit that you’re working on. I’m sure you have several goals in mind, but is there one you can share with us?

Gregg Ward (38:43):

There is, I turned 60 recently and I feel good. I’m all good. But you know, you reached that point in your life and you’re kind of thinking, well, what’s my legacy. What am I leaving? So my, my team and I are developing a online curriculum on writing an additional book. I’ll be writing a few more books. Uh, but I, I want to leave a legacy to the world of an, of a greater understanding and value around respect. And, uh, long after I’m gone, I dream of having a center of an actual physical place. Uh, we’re looking at partnering with the Joan crock, uh, peace and justice Institute at the university of San Diego. Uh, we’re, we’re in discussions with them that perhaps we can locate our center there and that eventually people, once we’ve understood and, and, and have dealt with this pandemic, and hopefully we won’t have to deal more so people can come together and learn and practice respect together. That’s my ultimate dream. That’s my 10 year goal. But right now we’re launching in about a few months, a whole suite of online resources on respect. And that’s what we’re focused on right now. No, no

Jim Rembach (39:55):

Fast leader, Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic and employee engagement. Along with integrated activities. They want to improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award winning solutions guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. Alright, here we go. Fastly religion. It’s time for the home now. Okay, Gregg, the Humpty, hold on as a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are gonna help us move onward and upward faster, Gregg. Okay. Are you ready to hold down? I’m ready to hold down. Alright. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Gregg Ward (40:48):

Today? I am procrastinating because I keep getting stuck at my office and I’m not doing all the things I should do. And so I’m not getting it all done.

Jim Rembach (40:59):

What is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?

Gregg Ward (41:04):

Leave clean? And what I mean by that is if you decide to leave a job, don’t leave it in a mess, clean it all up so that people will remember you well after you’re gone.

Jim Rembach (41:15):

And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Gregg Ward (41:19):

I’m a positive kind of guy. I try to look towards the positive and assume the best in people sometimes I’m prove wrong, but I try to stay positive and assume good intention on the part of most people.

Jim Rembach (41:31):

And what is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Gregg Ward (41:35):

Oh, I love to use what I call reflective or mirror listening where I say what I think I’m hearing you say is this, is that right? I love that tool. Reflective listening is a really powerful tool.

Jim Rembach (41:48):

And what would be one book you’d recommend to our Legion? It could be from any genre. Of course, we’re going to put a link to the respectful leader on your show notes page as well.

Gregg Ward (41:55):

Okay. One of the books that I love, it dates back a few years. It’s called the five dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni. It is a great book. It’s also a business fable just like mine. And it’s a great book for understanding as a leader, how teams function or not. Okay.

Jim Rembach (42:13):

It fast leader Legion. You can find links to that. And other bonus information from today’s show by going to And Gregg is spelled with two G’s on the end. Okay, Gregg, this is my last Humpday. Hold on question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Gregg Ward (42:38):

I would take back with me meditation. I’m a pretty intense guy. I get spun up. And if I had learned to meditate and practice it way back then, I think I’d be in a better place than I am now,

Jim Rembach (42:57):

Greg, I had fun with you today. Can you please share with the fast leader leech and how they can connect with you?

Gregg Ward (43:01):

They can connect with me through the center for respectful leadership’s website, which is respectful, O R G

Jim Rembach (43:09):

Greg ward. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The fast leader, Legion honors you, and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.