Unfortunately, there is no step-by-step method for ways to gain respect in a leadership role. But there are things as a leader to build it over time.
Many leaders overlook areas that require your attention. Small gestures that get big reactions from staff.
I used to hear all the time when in school that everything rises and falls with leadership. Therefore, leadership is not for everyone.
Moreover, it also requires certain sacrifices from that person. You are not going to be liked. You are not going to be everyones friend. Respect is not something handed to you when you take on a new leadership role. It is an essential leadership quality that you must build over time. But there are ways to gain respect.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff…” – Wayne Dyer
The phrase “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is used a lot. Remaining positive can sometimes lure you into a state of not realizing what is happening. But when it comes to ways to gain respect, you absolutely must sweat the small stuff. Here are 10 ways to gain respect as a leader that I’ve learned.
It’s really hard to do if you are not a optimist. And by the way, it’s ok if you are not. There I said it. If you are a pessimist by nature, and tired of hearing to be more optimistic. That was for you. Pessimistic people can be negative. It’s easy to slip into that state of mind. Typically pessimist are just cautious. Being a pessimist has it’s advantages.
However, that being said, be very careful about other negative people you are around. Even in other leadership roles. Toxic people are everywhere, so in advertising trying to avoid that is not possible. It’s just the real world.
But on the opposite coin, optimists can fall for a illusion that things are fine, due to not watching the warning signs. Optimists can slip into the state of illusion due to overwhelming negative circumstances. Not people, but things that keep happening that are not going as expected.
However, let’s not go to far to the right or left with this. People rarely respect negative or positive minded leaders. Instead, they typically ridicule them behind their backs. Negativity sends the message that you’re bitter or mean; it develops fear, not respect. So if you are a pessimist do your best to keep it in check in front of your team.
To be brief, at the same time, careful what team you choose to lead.
It’s one thing to say your door is always open. But you have to do more that an open-door policy. You will have to make time to talk with employees. Ask their honest opinions too. Employees want to think they have the boss’s ear and can come to you when they have issues.
The negative side of this is you can become a dumpster for bad opinions and negative comments. Ministers have to be careful that their parishioners don’t abuse this with them. It’s too easy to hear too much about things. Essentially engaging in gossip and inappropriate joking and behavior. Careful with this, remember you can be friendly, but you’re the boss. Therefore it’s a fine line between friend, co-worker, and boss.
No matter how busy you are, when you walk through your work area and notice an employee who needs assistance. Then offer some and get your hands dirty. This can create a huge impact and won’t go unnoticed.
Watch out for overly dependant people. But be careful you don’t develop a superhero complex. It can sneak up on you. Let your staff feel like they got the win without you once in a while.
It’s how you make new leaders one day.
Which leads us into what’s next in our list.
Be In Charge, But Not Controlling
Effective delegation as a ways to gain respect is an important part of leadership. Understand that employees are looking to develop their skills.
When you delegate, give them an important task to accomplish. It’s a risk if you are not sure, but the road to building a successful team is paved with some mis-steps. Stand back and let them figure it out. If you do the task, employees feel mistrusted. Again, be careful to not hover over them.
I had a new web designer that is now one of my most valuable relationships. She started at the agency with basic knowledge and was not totally inexperienced. But needed sharping and guidance on her craft. I never did things for her, she would get angry if I did.
But I was there just far enough away in reach to help if she got stuck. After all building a team isn’t creating cowboys or cowgirls, it’s about healthy collaborations.
Be Encouraging About Diversity
It is inevitable that people will come along that are absolutely qualified for the job. However, they may not be like you or anyone else. There has been for years the phrase “a fit into our culture” or something like that.
If anyone has ever met me, I’m not always a fit into a culture. Fitting into the culture isn’t what you should look for. Diversity in your team creates new innovations that if everyone was like-minded may not have dreamt up.
Be Listening Constantly
Body language and eye contact are important here. Leaders are torn in hundreds of directions in a day at work. So there are times when a conversation takes places with multiple people at a time. Show enthusiasm for employees thoughts that are shared with you. Lean forward, share acknowledgment, and paraphrase back to them what you heard them say.
When you actively listen, you are not thinking about what you will say next.
Keep eye contact as well. It’s not convincing if you are looking at your phone or away when someone is addressing you.
If you are time crunched and must give more attention to something else. Be nice to the employee and ask to schedule one on one time later. Leave them with the understanding what they have to say is important and you want to hear it.
Don’t Be Moody
If things are so bad not a single staff person can find humor in things. Or if you are the only one making jokes to lighten the mood, something is wrong.
Don’t take everything so seriously. When pressure is high and the things need to get done, a little levity can make the work much more enjoyable. When you laugh, it also shows you are human, and that goes a long way with employees.
I worked briefly at an agency that was very dreary. When I showed up the stress and pressure was palpable in the room. It wasn’t pretty. I came in one day and someone had turned off the office lights and got a led to shine the Bat signal on the wall. A employee told me that in three years of being there, they’d never seen that happen.
This made me feel a little sorry for people there not able to have fun due to the stress. I’m sure it’s not always like that, but for the two weeks I was there, I just wanted to leave.
One of the most important ways to gain respect and is easy to lose track of not doing. Don’t forget to compliment your staff on a job well done. Make sure the compliment is sincere and personal.
But if it doesn’t embarrass them, once in a while do it in front of others. To avoid employees feeling like what they do doesn’t matter give them some show of appreciation. It will make your employee’s day.
I can’t stand indecisiveness. Have you ever been behind someone at a fast food restaurant and they don’t know what they want? Yet they don’t politely step aside. Well that is what makes it difficult to respect someone. Someone who is not sure what they want can be difficult to figure out if you are doing the right thing as an employee.
The goal is not nearly as important as knowing what it is. Employees need to know this too. For all the war analogies people can write about this, they don’t work.
We’re not soldiers following a aimless general to a ditch. But when you are working for someone, as a leader you need to constantly communicate your goals. You’ll find that people become more enthusiastic about their jobs if they know what they are there to contribute. As well as the outcome.
Don’t do as I do, do as I say is a terrible way to lead. In corporate how many leaders send mixed messages like this? I’ve seen a manager say he wants ideas from his staff. Then puts down every idea brought up. Not every idea is good, but there is something to every idea that can be used to make a whole. Doing this does a couple of things.
First it makes the person that contributed that part feel necessary. Second all the team members feel like they are working together and not a silo. Essentially, separate from each other.
Learn to let go of things and trust your employees is a primary ways to gain respect. Things will happen that you cannot avoid. But you are paying them to do a job. So let them do it.
Their way may not look like yours or others. But it’s a way to success if they do it right and have confidence in their skills while working under you.