One of the most difficult tasks a leader or manager ever faces is earning respect from employees. When employees exercise genuine respect in the workplace, things get done more efficiently and more effectively, leading to a better experience for both workers and customers who walk through the doors. The trouble is that respect is not given. It is, as a general rule, something that is earned. Here are some practical tips that can help leaders and managers in an organization earn respect from employees:
What works with one employee or group of employees might not work with another. Realize that your employees are individuals, not simply a robotic team of faces. Make an attempt to get to know individuals on a personal level. This may mean spending time “in the trenches” to build respect in the workplace. Organizational culture varies from company to company, and even within a single company, there may be quirks from department to department. Learn these unique quirks and the history behind them. This will send a message to employees that you recognize them as people and respect their individuality. Giving respect is the best way to earn respect in the workplace.
Your time and energy are among the most valuable resources as a leader and a manager. Be available to employees as much as possible. Earning respect from employees is easier when you are approachable. Consider having an “open door” policy or even specific hours that you can be reached by your employees each week. Availability makes you seem more involved in the day-to-day operations of business and helps build respect in the workplace.
One of the fastest ways to earn respect from employees is to simply offer a helping hand. This may be as simple as offering to stay late to get a project done, offering to review some files or even holding the door open. Demonstrating a willingness to help makes you more approachable when a real problem arises in the workplace. It also instills a sense of trust and camaraderie between you and your employees.
Show and Suggest, Don’t Tell
When providing guidance and direction in the workplace, it’s important to use the motto of showing and suggesting as opposed to telling. When you tell someone how to do something, it can become overwhelming and undermining to the employee. Instead of barking orders and giving direction, exercise discretion by modeling proper behaviors and making targeted suggestions. This is one way to build respect in the workplace because it transfers the power from your hands into the hands of the employee. It’s up to the employee to make the choice to follow your suggestions or try another route. Be flexible where there is wiggle room, yet firm when it comes to a policy or procedure.
Earning respect from employees is an ongoing task that you must attend to every day in a leadership or management position. It also requires dedication on your behalf to build long-lasting relationship that are fueled by trust. In the end, an environment where there is respect in the workplace is more enjoyable and more productive.