Respect, Stop Assuming You Have It & Start Earning It!

Trust and respect

A lot of managers confuse respect with authority and then wonder why their people don’t always do what they have asked them to do. Managers are appointed to positions of authority but nobody can ever be appointed respect. Respect is never given, instead it is something that has to be earned.

Many managers I meet assume they have respect because employees will behave differently to their faces than they do when they are not there. When in direct interaction the employee will say exactly what they know the manager wants to hear. As soon as the manager is not in sight they revert to what they want to do.

It is sad when I hear managers confidently declare that their people respect them, only to experience the total opposite in training sessions. In order to try and help the situation I will try and find out what the manager does or does not do that is causing the distrust or lack of respect. These are just some of the things that are mentioned:

  • “She tells us to do things one way but does it differently herself”
  • “He ‘creeps’ to management when they are in our office, then slags them off when they have gone”
  • “She hasn’t got a clue but never asks our help”
  • “He’s out of his depth, is too young and uses analogies from his previous company that just aren’t relevant here”
  • “She is the fourth manager we have had in two years, I’ll give her six months”
  • “He talks a good game but never sticks up for us when competing with other departments”

So how do we earn respect? Well those of you that have survived parenting a teenager or two will know just how difficult that can be! Our own offspring seem to act perfectly reasonable when in the company of others but show scant respect for us.

Here are my top tips for building respect, some are common sense but as always common sense is not common practice:

  • Be consistent, nothing irritates more than double standards
  • Lead by example in everything you do
  • Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable doing yourself
  • Take personal responsibility if the team underperforms
  • Give praise to the team when it exceeds performance
  • Listen, it costs time yes, but is an investment not a cost
  • Solicit their feedback on your management style
  • Where possible always explain ‘why?’ as well as ‘how?’
  • Give more autonomy and trust to the team than they had before BUT come down hard on those that abuse it
  • Watch their back, stand up for them against unfair criticism and they will do the same for you

It is obviously easier to do these things when starting a new role with a new team. If you are not already exhibiting the above then you cannot expect them to change their opinion of you overnight. Be patient and work at things over a number of months.

Thank you for reading. Respect!

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training   | Image courtesy by PinkBlue of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Updated on: 18 November, 2013

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