For a majority of business owners, the dream is to become a market leader. All they want is to be at the forefront of the market, supported by die-hard and loyal employees who would be with you through thick and thin.
However, many of those businessmen fail to achieve even a fraction of that goal. In their drive to succeed, they often lose sight of their values. And instead of commanding or earning the respect of their employees, they end up demanding the respect they feel they deserve.
This behavior often results in the employees losing their drive and passion for the company and its success. Therefore, to be a well-loved and influential business leader, you need to earn your respect rather than demand it.
Listed below are nine of the most popular ways to earn your employees’ respect and turn them into the ideal support your brand needs to succeed. Let’s have a look at what they are.
Nine Ways You Can Earn Your Employees’ Respect as a Business Leader
In order to earn the respect of your underlings, the first thing to understand is quite simple – those people owe you nothing. Although you are their boss, that does not automatically guarantee that they’ll respect you.
You should want to be a leader, not a ruler. A leader inspires people into following them, a ruler orders them in line. To be a leader, you need to earn their respect with your words and the actions to back them up. Only then will they consider accepting and respecting you as their leader.
Let’s look at how you can improve a few factors holding you back from becoming a leader.
Ensure Consistency Between Your Words and Your Actions
Your employees need to see that your actions are consistent with what you say. That will help them develop a sense of trust and reliance, as they will know that you are true to your word.
Many employers and business owners find that their employees pay little attention to what they say. In the eyes of their underlings, the business owners lack credibility, as there is a noticeable difference between what they say and what they do.
Now, the question arises, how does a business owner lose their credibility? The most straightforward answer is that your actions as a potential leader led to your employees knowing that you do not follow the ideology of practicing what you preach.
Making sure that your actions are consistent with your words will go a long way towards helping you look like a leader to your employees.
Value Your Time, and of Others Too
In today’s world, one of the most valuable commodities for any professional is time. Whether it is a business owner, a CEO, or even an employee, your daily working time is extremely valuable.
To be seen as a successful business leader, you need to value your time. Try setting an example for your employees by limiting time-wasting activities during the workday. Moreover, try to honor your time commitments to your employees as well.
If you have a meeting with your underlings at a specified time, try to be there on time. Having to wait for someone at a conference is one of the primary ways a leader loses respect. It is often taken as if that person does not respect those who came to the meeting on time.
Similarly, try to warn people if it seems as if you’d miss a meeting. It might be unavoidable in a few cases, but try not to make a habit of it. If you cannot manage your business calendar, hire a PA to help you keep up with your appointments.
Ensure Timely Responses by Limiting and Specifying Modes of Communication
Today, managing multiple modes of contact alone can be pretty tricky, often next to impossible. These channels now include numerous social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, phone, text, email, and even in person.
With so many options to choose from, it also confuses the one initiating the contact about the best communication channel. Moreover, it also results in a delayed response time, which might end up causing issues if a message or meeting is time-sensitive.
That is why, as a business leader, it is always a good idea to limit the channels of communication. However, to do so, you will need to improve your response times on the platforms you’ve chosen to motivate your employees to emulate your example.
Try to make sure that all your messages are sent responses within a 24-hour window. That will help you grow your credibility as someone worth contacting.
Be Accepting of Your Own Shortcomings and Mistakes
As a business owner, you need to know your shortcomings and accept them as part of yourself. By identifying the areas you lack, a smart leader can overcome those issues to be a better professional and leader.
One of the best ways to do so is to ensure that you are correct as much as possible. The simplest way to do so is to research and structure facts and arguments relevant to the discussion. That works to your benefit in multiple manners.
First, it will show your employees that even with a full schedule, you still care about what they do and are trying to learn more. Moreover, it will help you understand what your people are working on comparatively quickly. That will help you identify any potential issues that might need more work.
However, there may come times when you will have to defer in favor of the experts. In such cases, a good leader will understand their limitations and take it as a learning experience, rather than trying to push their idea of what’s right to save face.
Develop a Culture of Learning and Growth
To be a successful leader, you need to foster an environment conducive to learning at your company. Your employees should not be afraid of learning or testing new things. If you develop a company culture that reprimands people for trying, then you’ll never be able to garner any respect from your employees.
To establish yourself as a leader rather than a ruler, encourage your people to experiment and take risks, albeit small ones. That will help your employees be independent and self-reliant. Moreover, they will also develop a sense of gratitude. They will feel that you trust them highly by encouraging you to try something new.
Empower Your Followers to Succeed, Rather Than Carrying Them to The Win
A good leader will help his followers learn the path to success by demonstrating how they achieved it. The old adage of “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ll feed him for a lifetime” holds quite true for a leader.
A leader instills the qualities and the mindset of a winner into his employees. That ensures that they will succeed purely through their own merits, making the win that much sweeter. But someone who carries their followers to victory, without teaching them how they did so, will only end up making that follower feel indebted to them.
Teach your employees how to brush off failures. Each failed attempt is a learning moment. However, those who remain uninspired and unmotivated need to be quickly pruned by a leader to minimize the chances of group failure.
Get to Know Your People Personally
It is hard for a business owner to know everyone at their company personally. And the larger the company gets, the harder that becomes. However, if you aspire to be a good leader, get to know those you come into frequent contact with.
Try to take time and understand their life stories, their dreams, and aspirations. That will help you understand each individual’s struggle and help them think of you as a warm and caring person. It is a great way to boost loyalty within your followers if they know you as someone other than the person who signs their paychecks.
Show That You Understand and Share Their Pains and Successes
Getting to know your people is just the first step. A good leader stands with his followers through times of happiness and sadness. If invited, make sure that you attend any weddings or anniversaries. Alternately, ensure your presence in their time of grief as well.
Many employees or underlings feel honored if their leader agrees or volunteers to speak at their weddings or wakes. Practice giving light-hearted speeches like wedding toasts or more somber ones like eulogies.
The internet is filled with various toasts and eulogy examples, but it is always best if you speak from the heart. It also serves to show your connection with that follower, which often raises your credibility as a true leader of the people.
Be Firm, yet Fair in Your Dealings
As a leader, there may come times when you’ll have to make some difficult decisions. However, suppose you make sure your actions are based on a fair assessment of the scenario rather than your emotions. In that case, you will end up with higher credibility than before.
Suppose you set aside your personal biases and emotions to favor fair dealing via established rules and processes. In that case, it will show your followers that you can be trusted to be a neutral judging party. A sign of a solid moral character, fairness in action is a highly desirable quality in someone that leads you.
In short, every business owner or manager has the potential to be an excellent leader to their followers. However, many still fail to do so. Suppose you want to garner respect from your underlings organically. In that case, the nine ways outlined above are a great point to begin your journey.