A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they are deserving of respect from their employees. After all, it’s the entrepreneur who has come up with the fabulous business idea – people should be happy to be along for the ride, shouldn’t they? The trouble is, respect isn’t something that you would give someone just because you work for them, so why should your staff?
Being a business owner is a step in the right direction, of course – but it isn’t the be-all and end-all. It’s your leadership skills and abilities that employees will be looking at, as well as your personality, work ethic, and ability to interact with other people.
With this in mind, here are some ideas for you to think about if you want to gain the respect of your employees. Try them out, and you will find that your business becomes stronger, more productive, and enjoys an incredibly loyal workforce.
First of all, if you have become an entrepreneur because you see yourself as the Big Boss in a large office and comfy chair, it’s not going to go down well with your staff. That’s not to say that you need to do everyone’s job for them – far from it, in fact, as the delegation is vital to your success. But you will need to appear like a busy person, who is doing everything they can to improve and grow your business. A fantastic work ethic is a bare minimum your employees will expect from you. Anything less, and you can’t blame them if they follow your lead and take their foot off the gas.
Being a lazy boss is one thing that will drive your employees crazy. But being negative can be even worse. Without a positive attitude, your workforce will go one of two ways. Either it will ridicule you behind your back, or it will become negative itself. And you don’t need me to tell you that an uninspired, fearful, uncaring bunch of employees will not do your business any favours whatsoever. If you want to win your employee’s respect, it is critical that you are positive in your dealings with everyone.
An open door
It’s important to take the time to get to know your employees. Talk to them, find out about who they are and ask them their opinions on core subjects that affect your business. It will help them feel welcome, for a start, but it also helps them feel valued. And a valued member of staff will always be loyal and feel like they have a place on the team. It’s also important for them to understand they can come to you when they have problems – and that you will listen to their concerns.
Inconsistent management can lead to all kinds of issues. People might accuse you of favouritism, for example, if you treat one worker different to another. Expectations should also be consistent, and you should always lay them out so whoever they affect will understand. A good way of doing this is to ensure you are operating within the law and are up to date with your employer’s responsibilities. HR experts Ellis Whittam suggest that achieving your corporate responsibilities can have an incredibly positive impact on your workforce.
Delegating isn’t just a process that makes your life easier – it also shows your employees that you trust them. Look at things from their perspective – how would you feel if your boss was always checking up on you, or micromanaging every task? You will either get infuriated or start to feel worthless. So, delegate tasks, and tell people what you want them to do – not how to do it. Start taking a more top-down approach to your business, and you will find that people are much happier than they were before.
It’s easy for business owners to hire people just like them. But is there any value in doing this in business terms? The truth is that a diverse workforce is a lot more creative, productive, and solves more problems than one that isn’t. And, if you can start embracing diversity, your employees of all creeds, colours and backgrounds will respect and be loyal to you for many years to come.
Listening is a bit of an art – but it is essential for excellent communication, which, as you should know, is a two-way street. When talking to employees, stop when you finish and listen to what they have to say. Be interested, question them further, and prompt them for their thoughts. Straight away, they will feel they are adding value, and they will also be more likely to approach you with new ideas on how to improve your business. In short, if you are a boss who can listen, you will win in more ways than one.
Setting goals is one thing, but if you want respect, you must be able to state your own aims. Great leaders can explain their vision, and it’s that vision that will inspire your team to succeed. It’s also a lot easier for people to respect someone that has a clearly defined goal and vision – so if you haven’t done it by now, start working on developing your aims.
Walk the walk
If you say one thing but then do another, how can you expect people to respect you? Regardless of your position in life, if you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Mixed messages, dishonesty, laziness – there could be a million ways of winding up your employees the wrong way. It adds confusion, too – people will be unsure of what you want if you say one thing and do something else entirely.
OK, so that’s all there is to it – think there are things here that could help you be a better boss? Or do you have any nightmare managers you remember that have failed to win your respect? If you have any more ideas, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.