Guest Post by Andrew Brushfield
There is little doubt that your employees like you. You’re a nice person. They make small talk with you in the elevator, laugh at your jokes and often have a drink with you after work. But just because they like you, doesn’t mean they respect you.
Most bosses want to be well liked by their employees, however there is a vast difference between being liked, and being respected. Whilst it is possible to be both, employees should respect your position as their leader, and it is important not to make the mistake of trying to be their friend. There are certain characteristics that can help facilitate effective leadership and it’s important to develop these traits in the workplace.
Six Traits of Highly Respected Bosses
Be a mentor
Allow employees to learn from the skills that you have acquired during your professional career. Giving employees the opportunity to develop their own skills under your mentorship will earn respect and appreciation. Encourage staff to grow and ensure you are at their disposal for information. Focus on pinpointing individual talents, be open with staff about their flaws and work with them closely to improve.
Being authentic is a good way to earn respect. Having a commitment to developing honest relationships with staff is vital to ensure a good working environment.
Knowing your staffs strengths and weaknesses, work styles and trigger points allows them to feel acknowledged and provides the opportunity for you to earn their respect. When the time comes, they will feel comfortable to approach you.
Give credit where credit is due
When a leader takes all the credit, staff can often feel undervalued and become resentful. Being honest about which team members deserve credit, and acknowledging hard work is an area of leadership that is underrated by many bosses.
It is important to focus on positive attributes, as much as it is important to work on weaker areas. Employees need to feel recognised, and being in a position of leadership allows you to do this meaningfully. It is important to focus on the solutions of the problem, not just disperse blame.
Setting realistic expectations and following up on their progress is important to ensure that the goals of the company are being met. Often staff can feel overwhelmed, or unsure of the end-goal of management.
Being honest with your staff about what you expect from them and giving them the tools to achieve results is a good way to get the best work from your employees.
Lead by example
Setting a good example not only gives staff a standard to work by, but allows them to respect you as a person and leader. Your personal manner, level of dress and how you conduct yourself publicly sets the benchmark for what you can expect from your staff. Recruiting quality leaders from the get-go is important to operating a smooth running team.
Be firm, but fair
Set boundaries for your team and be prepared to follow through with the consequences if overstepped. Be honest with your team about what rules apply and ensure they are based on fair reasoning and not personal prejudice. Be clear with your employees, and stick to the same rules yourself, having two sets of rules gives a poor message about your expectations.
Being a respected boss is not an unachievable goal. Employees want to know that they are valued, and respected and in turn will follow command and respect your decisions. Recruiting the right leaders is imperative to getting the highest level of work from your team. A boss that sets a good example for other team members and earns the respect from employees is worth their weight in gold. Consider using a recruitment agency such as Robert Half to help you hire the right person for your team.
What traits would you add to be respected in the workplace?
Andrew Brushfield is the Director of Victoria & New Zealand at Robert Half, and is based in our Melbourne office. He was originally an accountant at the Smorgon Group and has spent the past 13 years in the recruitment industry throughout Asia Pacific. In Australia, Andrew excelled in placing senior level finance professionals within a vast range of industries, with particular expertise in the FMCG and IT / Telecommunications industry.
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Are You Respected in the Workplace?
Terrific points, Andrew for leaders to gain respect! I especially love your idea of being a mentor, which is a true benefit for employees to find. Additionally I have found that cultivating a workplace of trust and transparency can be so helpful in building strong relationships and maintaining high performance. When a leader trusts others with assignments and responsibilities, people are more receptive to trusting the leader.
Thanks Andrew for some great insights!
Important actions and qualities to gain respect from your team, Andrew. I’d also add being willing to step into the fire to take the heat so the team can focus on doing great work. Some of the leaders I respect the most clearly had to deal with pressures and issues daily but they did not pass them on to the team but instead focused on removing roadblocks and championing our work efforts.
Thanks for your insight, Alli. Shielding your team
from pressures is one way to lead by example and earn their respect.