Successful businesses must have engaged employees in order to stay ahead of the competition, keep their product or service innovative, and retain customers. Keeping employees motivated and engaged involves many elements, many of which are on the department level and left up to each supervising manager. But there is one element that, if lacking, will break down a team and damage a business faster than anything else – respect for the leader.
Certainly respect for the overall company, its goals, and its executive leadership is important, but good employees can often overlook inconsistencies in those areas if they respect their direct supervisor. If that one person who directs their work on a daily basis and is responsible for motivating their team is worthy of admiration, then according to studies from Monster, Yahoo, Salary.com, and the National Education Association, employees will be more likely to stay with the company and feel engaged at work. Unfortunately for leaders, though, respect is not something that comes on demand or can be bought with raises – it requires work and time.
Earn It With Effort
Employees know when they’re being used and poorly led. Sure, there are some perks that come with a leadership role, but if you repeatedly slack off, pass your duties on to your team, or cover up your mistakes, your team will have no desire to help you succeed. Respect is earned, which means showing your team you are dedicated to them and their cause, even if that requires you to work some late nights, take on the tough assignments, or admit when you are wrong.
Give It Time
Whether you’re leading a new team or trying to repair damage from your past leadership mistakes, real respect does not come quickly. Sure, there are some instances where you can make a leap in the right direction, but it will take your team seeing you consistently make the right choices in order to invoke that deep-held respect given to history’s finest leaders. And, keep in mind, if your employees already lack respect for you, it will take longer to rebuild that trust and admiration.
Respect – either you have it or you don’t. The great news is that it’s completely in your control, but the road to earning respect is straight, narrow, and often the path less-taken. In the long run, your effort and time will be worth it as you see your team rally to your side, fight for you, and support you no matter what.