Here’s an interesting question for anyone reading this: do people respect you because they have to? Or because you’ve truly earned it?
Some leaders think that they automatically deserve respect because of their title or position of authority, but that’s just not true.
In fact, you’re much more likely not to be respected if you have an attitude like that.
Respect is earned over time, and takes an incredible amount of work.
Being mindful of all these things to earn respect, managing a team, and keeping up with your own workload can easily become overwhelming.
But being overwhelmed isn’t an excuse to be a mean person.
Many managers think leading with fear will get them respect, and maybe that worked in the past, but that won’t work anymore.
Leading with fear is the biggest mistake you can make, because it does the complete opposite of what you’re trying to do.
- Fear holds employees back from speaking up
- Fear disengages employees
- Fear kills creativity
- Fear covers up a leader’s insecurities
- Fear is focused on controlling instead of including
Employees these days are looking for leaders that are transparent, fair, understanding, empathetic, and mindful of them.
Do you take your title and authority for granted? Here’s a pro-tip: you should stop that right away.
Instead, you need to put yourself on the same level as the other members of your team.
Employees want to see you putting in the same amount of time and energy as them. They want to see you play your part in moving the organization forward.
The best leaders are the ones that build their emotional intelligence.
I mention emotional intelligence so many times on this blog because I believe in its power so much.
The secret to earning the respect of your employees is to pay close attention to them.
You need to be constantly making sure they’re taken care of and that they have the resources they need to do good work.
The best way to be more focused on employees and pay more attention to them is to build up your emotional intelligence.
Why Employees Don’t Respect You
Before we look at ways to earn respect of your employees, let’s look at a few of the reasons why employees don’t respect you.
Are you guilty of any of these?
If yes, then you need to work hard to change your mindset to stop doing these things.
You Don’t Let Employees Grow
It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. Steve Jobs
You can’t micromanage employees or limit their creativity. You need to be letting employees use all of their strengths at work.
You’re just limiting your company’s success and limiting the growth of your employees.
This can get incredibly frustrating for employees and they’ll easily lose respect for you if you constantly limit them.
You Don’t Appreciate Employees
One of the easiest ways to get respect is by showing respect and appreciation for the work your employees do.
One of the fastest ways to lose respect from employees is to not show them any appreciation and hardly ever give them praise.
The trick is to create a culture of recognition so that even if you’re not around, employees are still getting the praise that they deserve.
You Don’t Handle Conflict Well
Respect isn’t all about being nice. Sometimes, conflict will come up and you’ll be respected by how you handle it.
You don’t have to be mean, but if you handle it quickly and are straightforward, employees will respect you.
Employees will lose respect for you quickly if you avoid conflict or pick favorites and avoid conflict with some people but handle conflict with others.
Avoiding conflict is weak, and will make employees lose respect for you quickly.
You’re Not Consistent
Do you say one thing one day and then the next day, do something else? That’s a very easy way to lose respect from employees.
Do you consistently miss deadlines? Are you consistently late for meetings or absent from certain meetings? I get that leaders are busy, but if you say you’re going to do something, commit to doing it.
This is literally the quickest way to lose respect from your employees.
I can’t think of anything more insulting to an employee than if they find out you’ve lied to them.
Even if it was unintentional, I think if you get caught in a lie, you’re going to have a very tough time earning back that respect.
You Don’t Care About Them As People
Without getting too personal, you should be showing some interest in an employee’s personal life.
If it’s obvious that you don’t care about their issues and you only want them to be working hard for you, there’s no way that they can respect you.
How To Earn More Respect
According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, 54% of employees feel like they don’t regularly get respect from their managers.
Remember that respect is earned over time with a lot of hard work, but here are a few tips you can use to get more respect as a manager.
Before you can think of earning respect from others, you need to respect yourself.
Exercise, eat well, work hard, set high goals for yourself, etc. Make sure you take care of yourself.
You need to respect yourself before others can begin respecting you.
Self-awareness is likely the most important item on this list.
According to one study1, self-awareness leads to more respect and increased financial results in a company.
The study explains that there are two reasons why self-awareness is so important for earning respect:
- They’re aware of their weaknesses
- They’re more likely to delegate those weaknesses to other employees
These leaders understand what they’re good at, and focus on that, while empowering others to help them with their weaknesses.
Employees want frequent communication with you. They’ll respect you if you’re constantly touching base with them and giving them frequent feedback.
Having consistent one-on-ones will help you set a good pace for frequent communication with your team.
Read A Lot
Reading a lot will help you understand a lot of the things that your employees are working on or dealing with.
If you can help them with advice or teach them something you learned, your employees will respect that knowledge.
The best leaders read a lot. Reading has incredible effects on how you lead that will ultimately lead to more respect from your team.
There is a false thought among many leaders that being vulnerable will make you look weak, but it’s the complete opposite.
Being vulnerable, and admitting to mistakes will make you seem more open and transparent, which is exactly what employees want.
Brené Brown, whose TED talk about vulnerability went viral has another talk that perfectly explains why this myth is simply that.
Always be authentic with your team.
People can tell when you’re not being authentic, and that can easily lose you respect, so it’s better if you’re just authentic and truthful.
Be transparent with your team. Transparency breeds trust, and trust leads to respect.
How Do You Earn Respect From Employees?
Any helpful tips to share about earning respect from your employees? Share them with us in the comments below!
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