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It’s one thing for an employee to be respectful of the person in charge simply because he or she is the boss. It’s another to actually respect the person.

Business leaders want respectful employees, but how they go about earning that respect is up to them. Here are a few ways to get there.

Engage your staff

An ignored employee may very well be a disgruntled employee. A good leader has to set an example for the rank and file, and should have positive interactions with the support staff. Leaders that avoid presenting themselves as universal experts, and therefore seek the needed information from the staff, may have a better shot at earning respect. As Jim Whitehurst writes for the Harvard Business Review: “Trust has to be earned, and it’s not enough to call a meeting and tell people what to do and then retreat behind your own closed door. You also need to be open about your weaknesses and ask the team to help you address them. Nobody expects perfection, so don’t hold your cards too close. Get your team to work with you.”

Respond in a timely manner

Yes, we seem to be deluged in communication these days. That doesn’t make it OK to put your staff members through extended delays when they have important questions. Kevin Daum writes about this for “The challenge with contact management today is there are too many ways to communicate,” he writes. “Between Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, text, phone, Skype and Facetime, people are in a quandary to know what is the best way to reach you. And even with all the channels, some people still don’t respond in a timely manner, leaving colleagues hanging or chasing them. Limit your channels and respond within 24 hours if you want to appear communication-worthy.”

Learn to listen with empathy

This doesn’t mean simply waiting for your turn to talk — that’s an unfortunate trait that any employee can sniff out. Focusing on what the other person has to say — and actually caring about it — is the key, according to David K. Williams in a story for Forbes.

“Make authentic eye contact and turn towards the individual who is speaking,” writes Williams. “Sit up straight, not slouched down or leaning back, and even lean slightly towards the individual so they know you’re listening to them. Nod and let them know you are with them. This doesn’t mean you are agreeing, necessarily. This physical attention lets the other person know you’re not engaged in anything else, such as looking around, typing, texting, or anything besides listening fully. This lets a speaker know that you are respecting them, which is then reflected back. This kind of reciprocal engagement always strengthens relationships.”

Consistency is crucial

Employees will notice if you handle similar situations with different results. The boss that makes consistency a priority should avoid additional conflicts that can come from this sort of wavering.

As Daum writes, “If you find you lack credibility, it’s probably because you are saying one thing and doing another. People do pay attention to what you say until you give them reason not to by doing the opposite. You don’t have to be predictable, just don’t be a hypocrite.”

Hold people accountable

Constructive criticism and guidance should enhance the respect factor. If those employees that are not performing up to par are not held accountable, it could send the wrong message to those who are, as Yolanda Lu writes for

“Believe it or not, your employees will respect you more when you point out correctly the mistakes they’ve made or improvement you suggest could be made to their projects,” writes Lu. “It’s better to communicate this with your employees as early as possible. However, if in the end an employee still failed to get the project done, hold him/her accountable.”