Leaders play a significant part in employee engagement. It is our leaders that enable the full potential of employees to shine, that empower them to make decisions and be innovative, and invest in the potential of their staff with mentoring, additional responsibility and training.
And crucial to this is a leader showing respect for their employees. A job title, such as Director, might earn people more money, but it is showing respect to their employees that enhances a leader’s influence and performance and improves employee engagement.
A respected leader isn’t afraid to make difficult decisions and understands that being a leader isn’t about being popular or everyone’s friend. On the contrary, a leader who shows favouritism, manages people with threats and fear, or micromanages their employee will never earn their employees’ respect.
Unfortunately, a lot of leaders struggle to show respect to their employees. If you want to demonstrate your respect for your employees and become a more respectful leader then here are ten ideas to help you:
1. Believe in the best of people
The best leaders assume that everyone is trying to do their best, and if negative feedback is needed they turn it into a conversation about learning and development. They respect their employees by trusting them to do what they’ve been hired to do.
2. Do what you expect your employees to do
Respected leaders lead by example so if they need their employees to put in extra effort or time in on a project then they will also do the same. Respect your employees by not only talking the talk but also walking the walk.
3. Give credit to your employees where due
Leaders can demonstrate respect for their employees by giving them credit for the work they have done and new ideas, rather than trying to take the credit for themselves. Letting other leaders know about the achievements of their employees also demonstrates respect for those employees.
4. Be aware of how you come across
Leaders who respect their employees are aware of how their words and actions impact those around them. They think about what they are saying and look for opportunities to emphasise the positive rather than the negative with their employees.
5. Be open and honest
Leaders who respect their employees will be open, transparent and honest with their employees even if it is uncomfortable or unpopular. They are also willing to listen to their employees’ views and take them onboard.
6. Assume responsibility and admit your mistakes
We all make mistakes, even leaders. Respected leaders admit their mistakes and don’t blame others. They have their employees’ backs and take responsibility when mistakes were made by one of their employees; they live by the saying, “The buck stops here.”
7. Don’t show favouritism or play favourites
Respect your employees by not showing favouritism. Show appreciation and recognition to all of your employees regardless of your feelings towards them.
8. Support your employees
Respect your employees by getting to know them as individuals and their personal and career goals, and then finding ways to help them achieve those goals, help them grow and develop their career. The best leaders aren’t afraid of losing employees.
9. Encourage your employees to take thought out risks
Risk taking can result in significant boosts to your business, and encouraging your employees to take thought out risks says that you trust and respect them. If it goes wrong don’t play the blame game, instead look at the lessons that can be learnt.
10. Communicate well
Communication is one of the most important aspects of leadership, and leaders should respect their employees by thinking about what they are saying, planning carefully and anticipating their employees’ viewpoint and feedback.