You can’t be a strong team leader if your employees don’t respect you. While they don’t have to agree with all of your decisions, if you have their respect, they’re likely to stay motivated and engaged. On the other hand, when your employees don’t respect you, they’re typically less inclined to put forth their best efforts.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to earn the respect of all team members. Read on for some of the more noteworthy to keep in mind.
You need to set a positive example for your employees. If you consistently work hard and set a standard for quality, your top performers will likely model their work ethic after yours.
Employees don’t think highly of managers who they feel aren’t contributing as much as they or their coworkers are. If you demonstrate that you are willing to work hard (without sacrificing your work-life balance), your employees will recognize that you are genuinely dedicated to success and feel inspired to do the same.
Listen to Your Employees
You may already know that providing your workers with regular feedback is essential. Several surveys and studies have revealed that letting employees know where they stand (even if they need to make improvements) is key to sustaining engagement.
Equally important is the value of listening to your employees. They don’t merely want to hear from you; they also want regular opportunities to be heard. Providing them with these opportunities—and acting on their feedback when it makes sense to do so—will help you earn your team’s overall respect.
No one is perfect. Everyone will make mistakes in their career. What’s important is that you learn from them.
Importantly, you also need to admit to them. Although there may be issues that your employees don’t always need to know about (such as sending an e-mail to a client but forgetting to include the attachment), when your mistake impacts the team, you must be honest with them when you are the one responsible.
At the same time, your employees don’t expect perfection from any employee, even if that employee is a team leader. They will respect you more if you don’t pretend to be perfect. If you take the necessary steps to remedy your mistakes and avoid them in the future whenever possible, it will communicate to your employees that you still care about growing and developing.
Be (Somewhat) Predictable
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that “predictable” means “boring” in this context. You want to avoid being a boring team leader, as your employees will have more respect for your approach to management if you are willing to take calculated risks from time to time.
In general, however, you should strive to be consistent in the way you approach common situations. This can include seemingly minor situations and processes.
For example, perhaps one of your weekly responsibilities involves reviewing deliverables your employees have generated before submitting them to a client. You might at first have a consistent schedule for doing so, ensuring your team members know when they should provide you with these deliverables, how much time they should set aside to correct any errors you find, and when they will receive confirmation that the materials have been approved and submitted.
If you stray from this consistent schedule too often, your employees might assume you don’t have confidence in your own processes. At the very least, they will get the impression that you aren’t organized, leaving them with a negative opinion of you.
Consistency is essential. If your behaviors and attitudes are fairly predictable and regular, your employees will appreciate the stability you provide.
Everyone wants to be recognized for their achievements, so it’s completely normal to feel the urge to take credit for a success you contributed to.
However, giving in to that urge too frequently is also one of the worst things you can do as a team leader. To earn the respect of your employees, you need to give them credit.
For example, perhaps a client was recently very happy with a deliverable you submitted. Because you were responsible for reviewing it, you might assume you deserve most of the credit. However, if your employees were most involved in generating the deliverable, they deserve the recognition.
Just keep in mind that commanding respect among your employees can take time. You shouldn’t necessarily expect your team members to begin respecting you right away. That said, if you apply these tips consistently, they eventually will.