By Perminus Wainaina
How can you tell if employees respect you? Do they give you their full attention? Do they look in your eyes when you talk? And if they don’t, what can you do about it?
As a human resource manager, respect is important for you. You’re in charge of making decisions, coordinating efforts, and setting the tone for the organization. If employees don’t respect you, they won’t obey your decisions, they won’t respond to your direction, and any tone you try to set could be lost or discarded the moment you leave the door.
Respect is the regard for self and of others. It includes consideration for other people’s privacy, their physical space and belongings; and respect for different viewpoints, philosophies, physical ability, beliefs, and personality.
There are a few reasons why employees may not respect you: You may not be consistent, able to handle conflict well, or you do not appreciate the employee’s views.
Here are a few tested and timely tips you can use to help you gain their trust:
John was once caught in a situation where every time he told an employee what to do, they would not do it. He later realized that this was because every time the employee would come to him with questions, he was quick to dismiss her.
When employees come to you with issues or asking for help, make yourself available to them.
Let them feel that you are willing to hear them out.
It’s important that your employees feel like they can come to you with issues or when they need help.
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2. Support the employees
Always show support towards employees. Let them feel your support. This can be done in different ways, all of which are acceptable. For example, you might be more hands-off, or more personally involved in their work. Be consistent and you will surely earn their respect.
3. Praise in public; correct in private
Like children, an employee who is corrected in public will become embarrassed. In the same way, if the same employee is applauded in public, they are motivated.
Praise and recognition are two tenets of good management and gaining respect. Give the employees public praise when it is due, and only reprimand in private. Negative feedback should not be a public conversation. No matter how much your patience is tested, hold your tongue. Eventually, this will be of benefit to both you and the employee -in maintaining respectability.
4. Be transparent
As a human resource manager, you may raise suspicions and anxiety among employees. This is because your intentions are unknown to them.
Many times, employees want to feel like you are on their side. As one who has both the company’s and employees’ interests at hand, finding the right balance is key.
Therefore, be honest in your communication to them. Let employees know what is going on as well as the motivations behind each decision you make.
Developing excellent communication skills is key to successful leadership and to earning respect from others.
5. Be authentic
“I was approached by an employee in regard to certain company policy I was not sure of. As I did not want to give an unsure answer, I decided to just let them know that I was not in a position to answer.”
When employees see a relatable side to you, they are more likely to trust you. There are times you may not know the answer, but admitting you are not able to respond immediately is better
6. Be open-minded and consultative
Part of gaining respect from employees is when they know that you are listening to them. Think about all the approaches before you dismiss an idea from an employee. There’s at least a grain of wisdom in every idea, but you won’t know unless you foster further elaboration and discussion. By encouraging your staff, you’re more likely to morph a small idea into a big one.
Earning respect at work is not about being faultless or perfect. The best overall barometer of acquiring respect at work is your character: you take thoughtful actions that you know are right, and your colleagues see it.
Do you often find yourself in certain situations that question whether you are respected? Our training courses in leadership, communication or emotional intelligence, are just what you need. In no time, you will see the results, and at the end of the day foster a good relationship with employees.
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR & Recruitment consultancy firm based in Westlands. Through personalized career coaching he assists mid-level and senior professionals get solutions to complex and challenging career issues that they are facing.