ExecutiveChronicles.com | Leadership 101: How to Earn Respect from Your Direct Reports | Respect. It’s a word that managers – and Aretha Franklin – want and ask. Respect is important not just because a manager is worthy of cordial treatment from their employees. This value is also crucial to a healthy and functional workplace. If employees respect their boss, they’ll do everything they can to help their leader succeed.
Earning and keeping the respect of direct reports, however, isn’t as easy as singing Aretha’s song. This is true for managers who are new to the organization or have received a promotion over their peers. If you fall into one of these two categories, you’ll need to prove that you’re worthy.
Here’s how you can gain respect from your direct reports:
- Be Open to Learning New Things
When your team has a new manager, the employees have to adapt. As their boss, you have to do the same. If you’re new to the role, you shouldn’t come to the office and think like the most knowledgeable person in the room. That’s the fastest way to lose respect and trust from your direct reports.
So, forget taking the “it’s my way or the highway” approach and absorb every bit of learning like a sponge. If you need to undergo company-initiated seminars or attend leadership skills training sessions, do so. Learn how things work in the company before you begin rewriting the house rules and established processes.
- Practice Patience
If you’re just starting as a manager, you’ll need to be patient with yourself and your direct reports – within reason. Recognize the fact that you need time to learn the ropes of management, as well as the culture and processes of the company. Remember that leaders don’t become successful overnight.
Practice patience in the workplace to keep your cool. If your direct reports aren’t giving you the results you want, do one-on-one coaching with them instead of blowing your top and shouting hurtful words. Find out why they’re not meeting their goals and help them overcome their hurdles. Your team will thank you for being patient and eventually respect you as a leader.
- Seek out Feedback
Some managers make the mistake of following a hands-off approach to obtaining feedback from their direct reports. These bosses will walk in and say something like “My doors are open for you. Don’t hesitate to come to my office if you have problems.”
This lip service, however, won’t do managers any good. Employees can’t simply waltz in their boss’ office at any time and offer constructive criticism.
Rather than sit back and wait for feedback to landon your lap, talk to your employees. During your regular coaching, take the time to discuss how things are going with them.
- Be Consistent
Consistency is important among respected and strong bosses. You need to be consistent in your expectations of people and your leadership approach. This way, your direct reports will have no trouble understanding what’s expected of them.
If your leadership style changes often, your employees will feel unsure and confused about what you require from them. An example is taking a hands-off approach in one project, but suddenly micromanaging the next one. You want to be consistent with your style every time to build trust and earn the respect of your employees.
- Recognize and Reward Your Employees
Some leaders are only concerned about their recognition. They fail to notice the achievements of those around them. If you make everything about you, you’ll have a hard time earning the respect and trust of your employees.
So, make time to recognize the value of your direct reports and give credit to where credit is due. Understand that their success is your success.
- Admit to Your Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, including managers. When you mess up, own up to your wrongdoing and make a commitment that you’ll bounce back from your mistake. Follow all the required steps to rectify the problem. Your direct reports will respect you for that. What’s more, having the courage to admit your mistakes sets a positive example for others.
- Be a Firm Leader
Bosses who are pushovers won’t win the respect of their direct reports. When deciding for your team, stick to it if you believe that it’s the right thing to do. Decide what’s best for the team and the company. Don’t choose the “easy path” by following what’s popular with your employees.
Leading your direct reports to success isn’t easy, especially if respect isn’t present. So commit to developing yourself and caring for each of your employees, you’ll have more great days than bad ones. And you’ll earnthe respect of your team members.