Leadership & Respect: What you do matters, and your actions will attract your followers.

I am part of a leadership book club which has offered to read for the last three months “The 21 irrefutable Laws of Leadership” from the New York Times Best-selling author John Maxwell.

I am sitting at the doctor’s office and, instead of picking up one of those phony magazines in the waiting room, I have preferred re-reading Maxwell’s law of respect which portrays the outstanding story of Harriet Tubman who exemplifies respect, action, and commitment to a cause greater than herself.


She was respected not for her look, but her actions to free men and women  from the slavery matrix speak loud for more than 100 years

Tubman came to be called Moses because of her ability to go into the land of captivity and bring people out of bondage, Maxwell reported.

She started life as a slave herself. She became free by marrying a free black man.

Attempting in vain many times to have her husband escaped to the North, Harriett resolved to flee alone, without a word to him, making her way via the Underground Railroad, “a secret network of free blacks, white abolitionists, and Quakers who helped escaping slaves on the run,” as described by John Maxwell.

She risked her life by returning south to free more people. She guided more than three hundred people tout of slavery.

“I had reasoned this out in my mind: there was one or two things  I had a right to, liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would have the other, for no man should take me alive. I should fight for my liberty as my strength lasted, and when the time came for me to, the Lord will let them take me,” Harriet Tubman told her first biographer Sarah Bradford.

Leadership & respect

Maxwell points out that Tubman was an “unlikely candidate for leadership,” having no formal education, being a woman, beginning life as a slave. The deck was stacked against her and, despite those circumstances, she gained respect, influence, and leadership in the long fight for freedom in humankind history.

JMThose are the lessons I learned for this story based on Maxwell’s teaching on the law of respect:

1.- All leadership is voluntary. You can not rely on violence and intimidation to get people to do what you want.

2.- Leaders do what’s right. They exemplify courage , even at the risk of failure, or criticism.

3.- Leadership is about results. People respect other’s accomplishments. Leaders are successful in their own endeavors.

4.- Leadership & respect are about loyalty. Leaders stick with the team until the job is done.

“One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you,” said Dennis Peer.

The more you grow, the better people you will attract. “People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves,” Maxwell said inviting us to grow our leadership ability.



Read more about The 21 irrefutable Laws of Leadership



Published by Roosevelt

Roosevelt JF is a Global Leadership Fulbright Research Scholar from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) where he taught Haitian Studies as an Adjunct Instructor (2005-2010). Roosevelt was also a senior admissions adviser at Kaplan University. Roosevelt JF is the President of The JF TEAM, INC; a full media marketing and business development consulting firm based in Fort-Lauderdale, FL. He is a sought out radio and TV business show host. He is also a guest for several mainstream medias including NPR, the Miami Herald and Newsweek. He also leads the Center for Communication of AIDS, a network of journalists committed against AIDS in Haiti and South Florida. He speaks fluently Creole, English, French and Spanish. He is the author Of "Leadership sur le vif: Des idées pour le changement et la création de richesse en Haïti".

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