Avoiding the respect 'killer'...

Earning the respect of their team is of course vital for any manager and leader. However, genuine respect actually goes to the heart of human nature and is therefore complex. There are many ways to build respect but when you peel back the layers of the onion, there is often one thing on show that is a respect ‘killer’ – ego. Not the showing off, boasting type of ego but a more deep seated need to prove that they warrant the title of 'leader'. The following are therefore a few hints and tips to ensure ego doesn’t present itself in unwanted ways that diminish the respect in which you are held by your team:

  • You can’t ask for respect – I remember reading about a very well-known football manager who, when he went from a player to a manager, insisted his team called him ‘Boss’ – this is a big no-no. Your team members know you are the boss, you don’t need to remind them. You need people to do things for you because they believe in you, your ideas and methods NOT because you have a title on the door. As Stephen Covey once said, you must lead by stature not by status.
  • Make sure you deeds align with your words – do what you say you will do, tell people if you can’t for whatever reason, be yourself not a jumped up version of how you think you should be. All completely logical and obvious you would think but you would be surprised (or maybe not!) by how often managers expect others to act in a way they don’t act in themselves. 
  • You don't have to have all the ideas – so often we see managers that feel the need to justify their role as a manager by coming up with all the ideas and solutions themselves. Sometimes they even think it is their role to do this - as if it somehow shows how clever they are. However, properly listening to and exploring the ideas and opinions of others (as opposed to superficially listening because it says to in the management 'handbook') is far more likely to build respect. Simply by exploring these ideas and opinions doesn’t mean you actually have to act on them. People will respect you if you explain your reasons for making a  decision even if the decision isn’t one they agree with.
  • Show appreciation for efforts not only results – acknowledging that people are putting in the ‘hard yards’ is important. This effort may not always deliver the desired results (and there may be actions you need to take to improve these results) however it shows  you are paying attention to them and are noticing them as a person vs. simply noticing their results.