Status Matters – 3 Ways to Gain It
If you had the choice, would you choose high or low status?
Status elevates your opportunity to make a difference.
3 ways to elevate your status:
#1. Don’t obsess about gaining status.
The belief that you matter elevates your status. But if you’re needy, everyone smells it.
Needy ladder-climbers gain status by groveling to power-people.
People with status manipulate ladder climbers. They dangle status like a carrot. They might elevate your status if you’re a good girl or boy.
- Status is given by others.
- Status-stress is the uncertainty that attempts to gain status will work.
#2. Earn status by serving the interests of others.
Status provides an opportunity to serve and serving is an opportunity to earn status.
A grandmother gains status by serving her grandchildren. A teacher gains status when his students experience success. A coach gains status when he helps his players win.
Leaders gain status when they help others become successful leaders.
Status is never demanded. It’s given by the community.
I get the opportunity to interview high-status leaders and authors because it serves their interests. The Leadership Freak tribe represents value to others.
You don’t have to serve high-status people to gain status. Mother Teresa was a high-status person even though she served low-status people.
#3. Status is social confirmation.
The shallow view of status is you enjoy it by associating with high-status people. There’s some truth to status-by-association. Did you go to an Ivy League school? Do you work for a high-status organization?
I realized the power of status-by-association when I started interviewing high-status leaders, authors, and experts.
I began to notice that some people gave me status because I was talking with people who had status. It wasn’t the plan. It was a surprising consequence.
How might leaders earn status?
How might leaders help others gain status?
Your advice yesterday bothered me a bit because it seemed to suggest that we should not associate with low status people.
Thanks Dawn. Your discomfort may be useful. At least you are reflecting on these ideas.
Just to be clear, a person who rejects “low-status” people, is a climber. We smell them.
Glad you stopped in. Glad you kept reading.
How leaders earn status?
Accomplishing great things! Make a significant difference. The more difficult and challenging the task, the more status is awarded.
Coach and help others to accomplish stretch goals– that provides them with status.
Accomplishing challenging goals builds your confidence, self-esteem and provides more status
Status isn’t awarded based on what you’re going to do–it’s based on what you accomplish.
I think you earn status through servant leadership, humility, removing road blocks for people and giving them the opportunity to use their strengths and be a valued member of the team.
It seems to me that there are different types of status sought by, and conferred by, people and organizations. Some status is superficial, brief, and fleeting, like the pop culture idea of “fifteen minutes of fame.” That seems to be what many people are after. Meaningful status, in my mind, has always been related to service to others, significant achievement, and usefulness to the organization. As a leader, these are the factors I tried to promote and recognize in order to confer status on others.
Humility was a virtue taught and practiced in my family, faith and community. I grew to be an adult more interested in getting the job done than getting the credit. My father used to say, “There are show horses and there are work horses, and you don’t have to watch them very long to tell the difference.” For over a decade, I toiled contentedly in the “trenches” of my career field while others -the “ladder climbers” you speak of and folks whose main talent was self-promotion- clambered for status and attention. Any status I attained during this time was among close peers and immediate supervisors, mainly due to my love for the work and a strong work ethic.
When I had the opportunity to propose and implement some innovative and effective solutions to significant service-delivery problems, I suddenly attained wider status that launched the second half of my career in leadership positions, providing the opportunity to confer status on other deserving individuals and teams. So for me, status was something I attained while not looking for it, and that made it more satisfying, especially when retirement finally gave me time for sustained introspection on what good people working together can accomplish.
In terms of status I think it’s important to A) recognize the status of the person you’re dealing with and B) match the status as much as possible. Said differently, interacting with someone on the same level leads to much better conversations and makes it easier to move forward in a way that’s meaningful to both people.
I believe the status comes with results, helping others, but there is the formal status which comes with the job spec, it’s about formal decision making. I remember my first job out of college was the job which gave me the highest status ever, at least the feeling I had… I was a shift team leader in a factory, and the power of stopping a production line was in my hands. The responsibility of the people on that site was mine… even if I was doing what i was told by the operators, I was the one who was making the report to the plant director.
Another helpful post, thank you Dan. Genuine service toward others seems to be the only pathway toward status that matters.
An interesting useful post!
‘Status provides an opportunity to serve and serving is an opportunity to earn status. Status is never demanded. It’s given by the community.’
– The best way to live a life of respect!
Many years ago a friend of mine went through a change in title that some (including me) perceived was a ‘demotion’ or, at best, a lateral move. I asked if it bothered him. He said, “My office is still next to the CEO. I don’t care what they call me, I have proximity and very close access to power.” Several years later, he was the CEO. He had a very healthy view of status and his role in the organization.