Many companies are evolving to become more trustworthy, transparent, ethical, collaborative and mindful of their employees’ needs. This won’t work however if the leaders are not as diligent to earn respect from their employees or colleagues. Just because you are the manager, that doesn’t mean you’ve earned respect. Too many leaders think their titles grant them authority, and take it for granted. Other supervisors believe that they are owed and/or command some level of (unearned) respect because of their position in the company … but that just isn’t the reality.
Today’s employees expect more. Over the years people have stopped blindly trusting others. Trust has to be earned. Leaders need to be responsible with their actions and held accountable for the effect their behavior has on their employees and the company as a whole.
Department heads must become more engaged with their team(s), rather than expecting others to always do it for them. They need to be aware of how they are being perceived as they sit in the corner office; door closed, headphones on or back turned. It is important for them to earn respect from others every day and stop making the same bad decisions.
While a title signifies a position of authority and responsibility, it doesn’t mean the person behind the title is respected. Respect, trust and loyalty are earned over time. It is the quality, consistency and presence of character that people pay attention to. Basically, put your money where your mouth is and lead by example.
If you are going to win the allegiance of a dedicated worker, you must be an active and attentive listener, practice patience, appreciate your team’s unique talents and capabilities, and be noticeably grateful for the effort and performance of those under your umbrella.
No matter what you think, people always carefully observe their leaders, looking for reasons not to trust them (because they have been burned so many times in the past), but ultimately wanting their leaders to be worthy of their respect and loyalty. Unfortunately, those in charge often make this difficult because a lot of them are not wired to lead, or emotionally intelligent enough to be aware of the consequences of their insensitive leadership style or demeanor.
How can you be a leader who wins the trust and loyalty of your employees? Read on.
- Lead by Example
Actions speak louder than words, and a manager should personify this. Great leaders hate false promises and people that create lots of unnecessary noise to get attention. There are many people capable of playing the “part” on the outside, but have very little substance on the inside. Those who consistently prove through their work ethic that they are reliable and trustworthy on the inside as well as on the outside will gain the respect of their subordinates.
These individuals set the tone on their team and they are great role models. Typically, this aids in cultivating innovation within their own department — and sometimes others in the company. The type of leadership technique adopted by a department head ultimately defines the performance culture for the entire department. They set the standard and leave behind an irrevocable impact.
- Be Bold, but Ready to Admit Wrong Doing
The person in charge cannot be afraid to take risks. They need to be bold enough to change a conversation and seamlessly challenge the status quo to increase the betterment of the organization and their competitive advantage.
Of course, everyone makes mistakes. Whether it is a business decision involving another person or an entire team, that same bold personality element needs to be just as present to admit wrong doing. The right manager will not hesitate to make difficult decisions and they’ll put themselves on the frontline for the right reasons.
- Nurture Employees
Respected leaders think about making others better. They are mindful of those that give a 100% effort to their responsibilities. Managers find ways to discover the best in people and enable their full potential. When high-potential talent is detected, they impart their wisdom upon them and provide a path for long-term success.
- Genuine, Powerful Presence; Long-Lasting Impact
To get the most respect, be authentic. Your presence should be genuine and true. Make those around you feel that they matter. Welcome constructive dialogue regardless of hierarchy or rank. Trust yourself enough to live your personal brand and serve as a powerful role model to others. That type of presence can create a long-lasting impact that leaves a positive mark on the organization and the people you serve.
Respected department heads are passionate and impact-driven. You feel their presence when they walk into the room and their reputation and track-record precede them.
- Have Your Employees’ Backs; Deflect Your Own Recognition
Too many people with titles are recognition addicts and want all of the credit. They spend too much time breaking down rather than building up their employees. They don’t take any time to learn about other’s needs. To be a respected leader, you have to know the people you serve (yes serve) and give them guidance, inspiration and navigational tools to make their lives better and enable more opportunities.
You will earn respect as a leader when you reward and recognize your employees and colleagues — playing favorites or recognizing friends doesn’t count. Take the time to appreciate and understand the unique ways each employee thinks, acts and innovates. Always be on the lookout to enable their talent. Make it more about the advancement of others, rather than yourself. Share the harvest of the momentum you build with others on your team of subordinates.
- Respect Begets Respect
One final note to take it home … The famous saying: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Everyone wants respect, no matter where they are in the company food chain. Employees are, above all, human beings. Treat them as such. There is no room for the old saying “This is business, nothing personal.” Rubbish. Everything is personal. From the tone of your voice, to the look on your face, your actions and words … all of these things impact the people you work with, whether they are colleagues, superiors or subordinates. Be cognizant and compassionate of those around you just as heartily as you are about meeting that deadline or achieving that goal.