Do your employees communicate openly with you? Do they follow through with your decisions? Do they make eye contact and face you while talking with you? If you are unsure of the answers to these questions, or if the answer is no, you are in need of earning respect in your workplace. Although you may expect respect from your employees, it does not come automatically. You can earn more respect by showing respect, communicating honestly, and being a firm leader.
Respect is a reciprocal concept. Those who give it, get it. In order to earn respect from your employees, you will need to show them respect. Consider making a list of your favorite and least favorite managers from the past, and then list attributes of each. The list might include treating employees fairly, communicating clearly, and leading by example. This will give you a clear direction in how to show respect to your current employees.
A false pretense for leaders is that you have to be perfect. Even if you think you’re projecting a flawless image to your employees, they will see the imperfections. They will see your mistakes. Would you rather admit to these mistakes or flaws yourself, or have your employees whisper about them on their own? Communicating honestly with your employees about mishaps, wrongdoings, or weaknesses will create an open dialogue. This will decrease water cooler talk and encourage mutual respect. Employees will feel comfortable coming to you when they have made a mistake, and you will feel less pressure to uphold a false image of perfection.
Being a Firm Leader
While you need to be able to admit when you are wrong, you also need to stand your ground when decisions are being made. You might seek out ideas from employees, but ultimately you are the one making the decisions, and you need to be firm with them. Imagine working in an environment with an indecisive manager. This would be frustrating and confusing, which would cause a loss of respect. Once you believe a correct decision has been made, you need to follow through with it. Even if employees do not agree with the decision, if you have shown them respect and communicated honestly with them about your decision, they will have more respect for you than if you waver.
When you’re in the workplace, begin to notice how your employees act around you. Do they respect you? If you aren’t sure, begin by showing them respect, communicating honestly, and being a firm leader. These three rules will create a foundation for mutual respect, and your workplace culture will be better off for it.
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