Great leaders will inspire respect in others and be a great example. We always hear that respect and leadership go together. You can't have one without the other. Therefore, it is important to know how to gain respect and to maintain morale with good leadership skills so as to combat insubordination.
Now, here is the secret, the key to the problem – you have to show respect to be respected. Yes, it is as simple as that. OK, so leaders need to be respected in order to be successful. Earning that respect takes some time and effort, but once that is in the bag, subordinates are more likely to work harder and to follow that leader even through tough times. These leaders, who have the respect of their team members, recognize that they too, are people with basic needs to be taken care of in order to enhance their performance. But how do you gain that respect?
You either read or heard the saying: “respect must be earned”. So do you think to “lead by example” is the answer to the respect issue? Here are the questions and the answers. Do you agree?
- If I lower myself to that of my employee, will that gain respect? This is a common mistake most good-hearted people make. They think that by lowering themselves to the level of their employees they will become someone relatable or even a friend. But the problem is you remain that employee’s manager. As difficult as it may be, you should remain the authority figure but treat your employees with respect and compassion. Although employees tend to feel more positive when they believe their opinions matter, they also need to value and respect your position. They will take much more offense if a friend reprimanded or criticize their work, than their manager.
- If I give my employees freedom and a non-structured work environment, will respect me? Being the fun manager is not the way to go. Every parent knows that by giving a child structure and routine, you raise a well-balanced and happy child. People need structure and they need rules, not only in the workplace but in society. Now I’m not saying that you should push your employees to fill in a timesheet when they go to the loo. I’m simply stating that through giving your employees clear goals, plans, and a well-written job description, your task of gaining respect as their leader will be automatically lighter.
- If I do everything myself, I will lead and then this will be the example my subordinates will follow? False! The moment you take on all the responsibility, you take away their respect. Why? Simple! They don’t feel that you trust them and you make them feel incompetent. Trust is a cornerstone of respect. Rather coach or mentor an employee to do it like you prefer, than take away the responsibility totally. Motivation is key in this scenario and if the team feels unwanted and underutilized, they will feel unworthy and the outcome will be detrimental. Give them enough guidance. If you directly, and privately, address each issue they will feel more confident and have a sense of gratefulness towards you.
- I’m allowed to be late, do less etc. because I am the boss? Are you kidding me? Absolutely not. Lead by example. Be consistent so that people will recognize and respond to what you say. Time management shouldn’t be hard and simply being on time increases respect for others. If you are late, you don’t respect other’s time and therefor you will not have the respect of your subordinates. Leaders should always be available when an employee needs them, whether during office hours or not. Try to be right, but own being wrong. Remember you are human too, and sometimes people need to see how you handle being wrong, in order to gain some respect. If you can forgive mistakes, employees will also be forgiving towards you.
- I don’t need to show respect, I need to be respected? Respect first and then be prepared to earn and accept their respect. Being a leader means creating opportunities for others to thrive. Only through respecting your employees you will know which opportunities you will have to create for them. Respect will earn you the right to walk their journey with them.
So our answer to the question in the heading is simply to gain the respect of your employees. If this seems like a daunting task start with taking the first step. Lead by example. We can assist you with the second step. Although we offer a variety of different soft skills courses, our Develop Your Leadership courses are extremely well developed to suit the ever changing South African workforce reality. Please feel free to browse our website or if you feel like chatting, give us a call. Leaders who seek help are the strong leaders who will succeed.