Having the respect of your employees is vital if you want to be a good leader. If they don’t respect you, they will not feel like they have to follow you and they may not be as productive as they would be with someone who they admire at the top. Unfortunately, respect is something that is not often given easily and which you will need to build up over time, not only that but there is no tried and tested method for gaining respect as a busienss owner or manager.
That being said, there are numerous small things you can do, that over time, will build a healthy level of respect from those who you have been tasked with leading to business success. Sweat this small stuff, and respect will not be too far away…
Adopt a Democratic Management Style
There are numerous different management styles and most of them have their merits, but I would argue that, if it’s healthy respect you’re after, you cannot beat the democratic management style. This form of leadership is one where you involve your employees in the process, allowing them to have input into the day to day running of the place and giving them more freedom to just get on with the job at hand. Ruling with an iron fist will only get you feared or hated, whereas involving everyone will bring you respect and admiration.
Practice a Positive Demeanor
When you’re running a business, it isn’t always easy to stay positive – it can be pretty stressful a lot of the times – but at least when you’re dealing with your employees, you should try as hard as you can to stay positive because negative people are not popular and if they are prone to snapping, they certainly will not gain respect. People like people who are kind, who pull others up with them and who are able to control their negative side to a high degree – be like that and they won’t fear you, they’ll respect you.
Be There for Them
If you take the time to get to know your employees, talk to them regularly and ask them questions about what they’re doing and what they think could be improved in the workplace on a regular basis, they will feel like you have their back and that will build respect.
Get Your Hands Dirty
You might own the business or be in a position of authority over the other employees but if you lord it over them, acting all haughty like you’re better than they are, they will not look upon you favorably and you might just catch them mocking you behind your back one day. You might be further up the ladder than they are, but you are all just people and you all deserve to be treated equally. A good way of showing your employees that you do not think you are above them is to get down on the shop floor and help them out from time to time. Don’t be afraid to do those little jobs that by rights, as a business owner you shouldn’t have to do, show them you’re willing to work hard and respect will not be far away.
When your staff speaks to you, really listen to what they’re saying, ask them reciprocal questions and show some real interest and enthusiasm at what they’re saying. If they come to you with a problem, actually do what you can to act on it and they will know that you do take them seriously, and more importantly that you might be their boss, but you do care.
Nothing goes further to building good relationships with employees than letting your hair down and having some fun with them from time to time, You can do this by taking them out for drinks, sharing a joke, making fun of yourself in front of them or generally just not taking work or yourself too seriously. The best bosses are always the ones who you know you can share something funny with.
Acknowledge Good Work
Respected business owners are business owners who acknowledge a job well done. They don’t try to take all of the credit for their employees good work and they don’t think that because their staff are being paid, they don’t need to be thanked/praised/rewarded for a job well done – they say “good job” they hand out bonuses and they are always grateful to their employees for making their business possible.
As a business owner, it is important that you are always very clear about what you want from your employees. If you aren’t then you won’t seem like a very good leader when you can’t articulate or you ask them to do something only to later point out that’s not what you meant. Furthermore, employees like to have a clear idea of what they are doing and be left to get on with it, they don’t like to be reprimanded for missing a deadline or making a mistake when you didn’t make it clear enough for them in the first place. Be clear, get respect – simple as that.
If you want to gain respect, don’t be the kind of leader who says one thing and means another. This is such a common problem in businesses big and small across the globe and it causes so many problems and resentments that it’s unreal. If you say that you want your staff to contribute ideas for that new project, but you barely listen to them when they come with ideas or get annoyed with their input, well they’re hardly going to respect you, they’re going to think you’re a real jerk! Authenticity and honesty is key in any business and you should be leading by example.
Be an Example
Kind of related to that, you should always be an example to your employees. If you want them to act with integrity, if you want them to be productive and you want them to get to work on time every day, well you need to do those things yourself too, There’s nothing respectable about hypocrisy!
It’s unfortunate, but it’s hard to be a respected leader if you aren’t confident. People expect leaders to hold themselves a certain way, to be clear and fearless when they speak and to be certain in themselves and if you aren’t any of those things, they may not be quick to follow you. Of course, a lack of self-confidence can be mitigated somewhat by being all of the other things on this list, however, for your own good as well as the good of your company, taking a few confidence building classes might be a good idea if you struggle in this area. This is by no means a deal breaker, but the more confident you are, the easier it will be to get where you want to be.
Admit Your Faults
None of us are perfect and we will all make mistakes from time to time, especially if we happen to be business owners. This is not a problem. But what is a problem, if you want to be respected that is, is not admitting those faults. It takes a big person to admit they were wrong, especially to their employees, and you will get a lot of respect if you are able to do this regularly. Oh, and the worst thing you can do is try to put the blame on other p[eople n your organization when things go wrong. As the owner, the buck stops with you. Take that on board and you will be admired.
Help Others Up
A sure-fire way to increase admiration for you as a leader is to help those below you to climb the ladder. If you own the business, invest in your staff by boosting their skills and knowledge on a regular basis and providing opportunities for them to advance through your company. The best people, the people who deserve admiration, are the people who want others to do as well as they are, I’m sure you’ll agree.
You probably have your hands full with the day to day running of your business, but if you have the time to, you should definitely look into doing some work for the community or maybe setting up a charitable trust to help those in need. Helping others, not just yourself is the sign of someone who is worthy of respect. So, choose a cause you care about and get your organization involved. It’s good PR, good for the soul and it will help your staff to respect you in the long-term too.
Be Professional at All Times (Even at the Parties)
Last, but not least, if you want your staff to respect you, no getting drunk and making a fool of yourself at the office parties, no being rude and inappropriate, even on social media (especially on social media)!
Time to be the great leader you know you can be!