Way back in 1967, R&B powerhouse Aretha Franklin asked for just one thing: a little respect. Forty-five years and eighteen Grammy Awards later, Aretha has certainly earned the respect she was searching for. But do today’s managers earn similar respect from their employees?
Research released in 2010 showed that nearly one-third (31 percent) of employees said they could do their bosses’ jobs better than their bosses, and 61 percent said their bosses do not properly prepare them for organizational advancement.
To counter these sentiments and earn respect from employees, managers must skirt a fine line of being too this or too that, all the while handling the other responsibilities of management.
Begin earning more respect from your employees by incorporating the following tips in your workplace:
Be Available For Face-to-face Communication
New technologies are wondrous in increasing productivity in the workplace. Computers at every desk and personal smartphones allow employees to communicate with clients, different branches and manufacturers instantaneously at all hours of the day. While sending an email, tweet or instant message may be the fastest and easiest way to communicate with employees, respected managers take time to visit with their employees face-to-face.
Employees need to see their boss to believe he has a vested interest in them personally and professionally. They don’t want or respect a boss like Bill Lumbergh of “Office Space,” who only drops by to deliver bad news (in a monotone voice, no less). Let employees know that your door is open if they need to talk and drop by their desks every so often to ask about a project or chat about a similar interest.
Constantly “dropping by” your employees’ desks or hovering around a meeting door left ajar like a moth frantically circulating a porch light is a surefire way to lose respect over time. New or young employees with work-related questions may appreciate the extra attention at first, but they’ll soon realize your hovering is nothing more than a micromanaging façade.
A February article about retaining employees on Huffingtonpost.com advises managers to stop micromanaging and start trusting. “Remember, if you hired employees because they’re talented, creative and have a unique set of skills and intelligence, if you constrain them too much and make them do their work exactly like you would do it if you were in their position, you risk losing the very qualities that you hired them for in the first place.”
Today’s employees are overworked and overstressed. A recent Gallup poll credited on-the-job stress as the number one reason for employee dissatisfaction in the American workforce. Stress can be caused by a number of workplace factors, including low pay, an unreasonable workload and fear of being laid off, but it can also be caused by outside factors, like extra burden afforded after a death in the family.
To earn the respect of employees, managers must learn to spot common symptoms of stress, which include poor memory, fatigue, a lower quality of work and increased sickness, and understand when a work or personal matter has become too much for an employee to handle. Employees never wish to disappoint their managers, so being genuinely sympathetic to their plight will elevate their opinion of you personally and professionally.
Stop Clowning Around
Telling an occasional joke can help ease tension and build friendships in an office, but there’s a difference between witty workplace banter and uncomfortable or even offensive humor. Many popular categories of jokes alienate people by race, age, gender and even hair color. What’s worse is bringing yourself or your employees into the joke. It’s difficult for employees to respect a person who diminishes his own character or snickers at theirs.
To keep respect high and discomfort low, avoid becoming the office clown. If you simply can’t control your urges to channel the late, great Charlie Chaplin’s “The Tramp,” reference salary.com’s office humor tips first.
Do your employees respect you? How did you earn your employees’ respect?
Image Courtesy of Jezebel.