[March 12, 2018] We’re all guilty of failing to show respect to our subordinates at one time or another. Whether unknowingly or worse, purposefully, we have not shown the respect due others; that which is required of us as leaders. Yet whether a subordinate deserves respect is irrelevant; showing it at all times is an unwritten requirement of professional leadership.
A professional can show respect and even under the worst cases imaginable, discipline a subordinate, and still show them a minimal level of respect that they are due simply because they work for you. This may seem contradictory.
Why, you ask, should a bad employee be given respect? The reason is that others will be observing how a leader acts under a wide variety of situations. When a leader respects another person, it is seen as a positive attribute of the leader. When a leader disrespects another person, regardless of circumstances, it is seen as a negative attribute of the leader.
A leader must also show a certain level of respect to subordinates even when that subordinate fails to respect the leader. The reason why a leader shows respects to others never changes. For example, how a one treats people of the lowest rank, those with the most unimportant jobs, and those who are performing poorly is about the character of the leader and not about the other person.
If a leader is looking to improve relationships with subordinates they should carefully review and study these ways to show respect:
- Be inspirational: John C. Maxwell once said that a word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change a life.
- Listen: It takes considerable self-confidence and courage to truly listen to others.
- Reward: Do this in many ways; mostly small, simple ways of encouraging good behavior.
- Be thankful: A simple thank-you or small pat on the back give motivation that is immeasurable.
- Be helpful: There are many ways to do this without interfering but often the very knowledge that you are willing to help is a good thing.
- Remember the small things:
- Build trust: Ultimately relationships are about trust. Building trust enables us to respect others.
A leader’s time and resources are always in high demand. As such they should always make the effort to spend time with subordinates to interact with them, understand their problems, and be seen as someone who cares and is willing to act. This is what respect is all about.