Respect is crucial for leaders. It ensures that your team trusts you enough to let you guide their development and take your advice on board, while respect also increases the chance that they'll listen to your critique and directions when necessary.
However, it's important that managers earn respect instead of just expecting it. Without putting effort into developing this kind of relationship, you may get short-term respect but it's unlikely to be long lasting.
Managers need to listen to their team
It's difficult to have any respect for someone who doesn't listen to what you have to say, especially when they're responsible for your progression, happiness and day-to-day tasks. This means managers need to prioritize giving employees the opportunity to express their opinion and give their insight about work matters. However, it doesn't stop there. As a leader, you need to ensure that you are taking what they say onboard and taking steps to address any problems or concerns they've shared.
Only doing the first step will damage your respect more than simply not listening to employees at all. Asking people to put the effort into expressing their concerns and then just ignoring them will have a negative impact on morale, as well as your relationship with them.
Why you need to give respect in order to receive it
In order to earn respect, you need to first treat everyone in your work environment with respect. This means people on your team, and these are arguably the most important people to appreciate, but also make sure you are holding other co-workers, managers, and - of course - your own boss in high regard.
Respecting others as much as possible at work will create a positive environment that will encourage employees to respect you in return, while ensuring that morale is increased. It can be easy to assume people know that they're doing a good job but actually expressing this to them can make a big difference on how they feel at work.
Set high standards and demand them in return
Everyone wants a leader that makes a difference and acts on their intentions. Hold yourself to the highest standards to earn respect from the people on your team. If you're unsure what you should be doing, speak to employees and ask them for insight. Thinking about what you'd prioritize in a manager is a great place to start when leading others but may mean you're concentrating on areas that aren't valued by your team.
By maintaining high standards yourself, you can honestly and fairly expect those around you to live up to their full potential too.
Why accountability is important for leaders
Being accountable to the standards you set out is crucial if you want those around you to respect you and your position. However, this means holding your hands up when you make a mistake. Many leaders are hesitant to do this because it can make them appear weak but showing your team that you're fallible needn't be a negative thing. Everyone makes mistakes and it's important that you lead by example when it comes to owning up to them.
This will encourage your colleagues to not only respect you but trust you with their own errors, which is a crucial part of developing a long-lasting and effective professional relationship. Identifying problems in your team as soon as possible will allow you to be the most effective in your role as manager, potentially preventing further issues from occurring down the line.
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