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How to gain the upmost respect from your employees

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Earning respect often boils down to treating others in the way in which you want to be treated. Showing respect to someone – especially an employee – sounds like a basic skill, yet there are still many complaints about individuals being disrespectful within the workplace. Lack of respect between employees and their employer can impact massively on work, as well as morale and the length of time an employee stays with a company.

Unfortunately, there is no step-by-step guide or method for gaining respect in a leadership role. But, there are some things you can do to ensure you are gaining respect from your employees.

Positive attitude

Negativity sends a bad message and develops fear rather than respect. People do not respect negative leaders, and it can have a serious impact on colleagues who might otherwise have a positive or pro-active attitude towards their work. So, it is best to always maintain a positive attitude wherever possible, acknowledging problems but finding ways to work around them rather than dwelling on the issues.

Tell staff what they should be doing, not how to do it

Understanding that employees are always looking to develop their skills is important. So, if you are delegating tasks to complete, you should then stand back and let your employees figure out how to do it themselves. If you are telling employees how to do a task, they may feel mistrusted and possibly inadequate. It will be difficult to trust a manager/boss who doesn’t trust you, and therefore difficult to feel or demonstrate respect in return. 

Share compliments

Compliment your employee on something they have done well. Making the compliment sincere and personal is always best, and it will often make their day and make them feel as if they have accomplished something important.


When employees are talking with you, listen, show interest and enthusiasm towards whatever they have to say. When you are listening actively you are with them in the moment and acknowledging their challenges and triumphs. One of the hardest parts of your job can be people management – which is why human resources software is often so helpful – but it’s a hugely important factor in earning and retaining respect.

Show respect when others are wrong

Healthy managers/bosses encourage environments that accept failure. You should be encouraging people to take risks, which can also extend to setting an example on how they can shake off failure and bounce back from it.

Offer help

It doesn’t matter how busy you are – if you walk into an area at work and you notice an employee who needs some assistance, go over and kindly offer your help. Get involved and you won’t go unnoticed or underappreciated.

Be available

Have an open door policy for your employees, but also make time to talk with them to ask them for their opinions on particular subjects. Be available to them and allow them to come to you when they have issues.

Value Differences

Hire staff with qualifications from a multitude of backgrounds, and show that you value everyone’s differences. Don’t just recruit people exactly like you, or those with particular grades from educational establishments – so much of forming a great team is about pooling together different skillsets, experiences and perspectives.

Be fun

A workplace is obviously a serious environment, but there are times for laughter – so don’t take everything so seriously! When the pressure is high, things will need to get done… but a little levity can make things run smoother.

Be consistent

If you are lacking credibility, it is more than likely because you are doing one thing but then saying another. Employees will pay attention to this until you give them a reason to see the opposite. Don’t be a hypocrite, and follow through with what you say you’re going to do. This way, you’ll earn respect.

A lot of people assume leadership positions without thought for the impact on others. Without respect, it can be difficult to accomplish at work so always remember to treat people how you want to be treated.

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