Of all the positive attributes that managers and supervisors should model in the workplace, respect for others can be among the most difficult to quantify and to demonstrate to subordinates in a natural and meaningful way. But feeling respected can go a long way toward increasing work satisfaction for employees and toward lowering costly turnover rates for managers. Respect is considered a necessary component of a healthy work environment and one that promotes both hard work and company pride.
Thinking About Respect
Put yourself in your subordinates’ shoes: no one likes to come to work and feel unappreciated or treated like they don’t matter to their boss or the organization. This part, at least, isn’t rocket science. Respecting others, especially those at a lower place in the hierarchy, can go a long way toward providing a work environment that is positive and more productive, resulting in great loyalty and mutual respect.
From Your Employees’ Points of View
For many workers, their immediate supervisor or their boss represents the face of the company to them, whether they realize this fully or not. If they feel that person is disdainful toward them or treats them as though they are unimportant, their view of the organization will suffer. It isn’t easy to give your all to a company that you feel holds you in low esteem. It is much easier to go the extra mile for a company and manager who make you feel good about yourself, and that includes a healthy, genuine amount of respect.
Creating Respect at Work
With all of that in mind, that leaves one more question: How can a person in a supervisory position demonstrate respect to their employees? Here are a few ways to begin the process:
- Maintain polite eye contact
- Address them by their preferred name/title
- Remember personal/family details they shared
- Listen without interrupting
- Thank them for their hard work
- Show sincere appreciation
- Don’t reprimand them in front of others
- Don’t exclude them from conversations unless absolutely necessary
These are all good first steps toward building respect in the workplace. Most of them require very little time or effort, just greater personal awareness and a desire to improve communications.
What If The Respect Is Not Reciprocated?
Depending on your history with certain employees, your demonstrations of respect may not be immediately reciprocated by them. This may make you feel put-off, angry, or embarrassed. If this is the outgrowth of an ongoing issue or personal history, then give it time. You may feel as though this undermines your authority, but in the short-term, it will not do so. Remember, you are the one in charge. Eventually, your workers should recognize the efforts you are making and respond to them. Then the respect you have shown them will begin paying dividends in terms of company loyalty and positive attitudes in the workplace.