Why You Should Manage with Respect.

5 Tips to Help You Become a Great Boss.

What is respect? Here is a definition I put together from a couple of sources through our BFF Google.

Respect is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone; it conveys a sense of admiration for their abilities, qualities or achievements; and it is also the process of honoring someone by exhibiting care, concern, or consideration for their needs or feelings.

Most of us were raised at home with respect as one of the most fundamental values. For me, respect came from the notion of every human being equal and having the same rights. This value was instilled in me not only by my parents but especially by my grandfather who lived by it all his life. This value reinforced in me through school and university, where some of my courses involved International Human Rights Law.

It is almost a cliché now that as a Boss you need to earn the respect of your team members as it will not be given to you. However, the way you earn that respect is more important than whether you have it or not. Demanding false respect through showing off technical skills, knowledge or leading by fear is not the way to become a leader that people will want to work for.

As R.G. Risch put it: “Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you’ve got to give it.”

Below you will find 5 basic leadership rules that I have respect at their core. Should you choose to adopt and act on them, they will help you to become even a greater Boss.

1. “Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to.” – Hussein Nishah

Coming into work and checking in with your team by smiling (it works on the phone or chat too 😊), saying “hi” and showing interest in their weekend or previous evening sound like a no-brainer. However, how often do we start our days with fires we need to put out or meetings we must attend, only to realize that the black hole of busy work has sucked us in.

Then the day passed by, and we have not talked with even one of our team members. The craziness of our work lives makes us forget the most basic etiquette rules for human interaction. But the principles of savoirvivre are one of the easiest of ways to establishing a foundation of trust and good relationships with people at work.

So how about starting today, no matter whether you are grumpy, tired or stressed… STOP, SMILE say “hi” and “how are you?” and mean it. Take 3 minutes of your day to listen and show that you care about your team members whole persons not just as employees.

It will help you with the next part of this first tip, i.e., exercising self-regulation at work. Self-regulation is part of emotional intelligence, a concept that was introduced to most of us by Daniel Goleman. Studies have shown that leaders who practice and develop emotional intelligence are much more successful in their careers.

In a nutshell, self-regulation is about managing our emotions and ability to keep the disruptive ones under control. No one wants to be screamed at or belittled for making a mistake or not delivering the expected results. We all work better, make fewer mistakes, and are more innovative when treated respectfully, especially by our bosses.

2.  “Leaders celebrate (…) Work is too much a part of life not to recognize moments of achievement” – J. Welch

Recognition is a perfect way to show respect you have for your team members skills and achievements. Every day you can find things to recognize someone for.  Saying thank you, praising an individual or a whole team for a specific result gives people motivation to work even better. The more you recognize your team, the better the atmosphere you create. Don’t stretch the facts and celebrate half-wins as it will generate cynicism amongst your team members. Be specific, sincere and consistent.

Having a bigger celebration from time to time will add to the positive energy. Yes, you should celebrate big professional wins, but do not forget about personal moments, for example, birthdays, marriages or having a baby. Having fun, relaxing and creating a break from work during work, will strengthen your team’s bonds and help to increase collaboration.

Studies have shown that a positive and fun work environment can become a creativity incubator. Why? Because the dopamine released with happiness also opens our brain’s learning centers, giving us the ability to tap to more of its power.

3.    “When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.” Thomas S. Monson

Let me share a personal story to explain how coaching and growing your team members at work ties to respect.

When I was in high school, we had religion classes with a priest. He was quite demanding, asking us to learn a lot of things on the subjects we discussed. He was saying that his demands were coming out of the respect he had for us. At the time I did not appreciate his reasoning. Having to learn and prepare for many tests on other “more important” subjects, religion was the last thing on my mind as far as studying went.

But now, being older and wiser 😊, I understand …

When we respect and care about people (ex. our kids or best friends), we want the best for them. And sometimes that means, pushing them out of their comfort zones, teaching them “tough lessons” or telling them things they might not want to hear or are tough to swallow.

This is why… I firmly believe that as managers and leaders one of our main responsibilities above all is to coach and help our team members to grow, enhance their skills, and progress in their careers. When done right, such coaching will help your employees to improve not only professionally but also personally.

4. “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Bill Gates

You will not be able to coach and grow your team members without giving them candid, constructive and respectful feedback. It shows that you care about them and want the best for them. Candid feedback also allows you to motivate your team.

Feedback on what went well reinforces the behavior’s that you as a leader and your organization value and want everyone to adopt. You can give positive feedback in private as part of coaching and in public as part of recognition and celebration of wins.

Feedback on what did not go well helps your employees improve their skills. Here more tact is required. Using things that did not go well as scenarios for lessons learned is a good practice for team learning.

“Public meeting” in turn cannot be used to point our individual’s mistakes in front of their colleagues. Coaching your employees on things they can improve on should happen in one-on-one meetings. This type of feedback should be candid and respectful at the same time. It cannot attack them as a person. Instead, it should show team members behaviors that can be improved.

Respectful constructive negative feedback also means that you hear the person; that the feedback happens in the form of discussion, not a monologue and that you are prepared to change your position as required if any new facts come to light.

5. “One of the most sincere forms of respect is listening to what another has to say.” Bryant H. McGill

Listening to understand as opposed to responding is sometimes easier said than done. It requires practice, and most of us can improve; I know I can for sure. However, it is so powerful that many of the best companies ensure that their employees have a safe environment to raise concerns and present their ideas.

Fostering open dialogue, giving our people forum to have a voice, present their ideas, will not only save us from becoming out of touch with reality but also create an innovation-friendly environment.

Companies that improve their operations with many small innovations making their process bond well together can have a more significant advantage on the market than the ones that come up with one large innovation. One thing, no matter how disruptive, can be much faster identified and copied by the competition than a myriad of small activities tightly interconnected with each other.

Take an example of Southwest Airlines flying one type of Boeing planes, between mid to small cities with no interconnections, no meals or assigned seats, extremely quick check-ins, etc. This multiple innovative actions strategy allows them to be a leader in affordable flying that others are yet to beat.

You cannot get to such a competitive advantage without the creativity and collaboration of all your team members. And that cannot be achieved without listening first.

None of us is perfect. Walking the talk means that we as leaders need to work on improving ourselves first. Leadership skills can be learned.

Leaders are made, learn to be a great one. I came up with this tagline because I believe that becoming a great boss does not only benefit people we lead or the organization we work for (or own) but most of all it helps us – we become a better person.

If you are interested in how you could grow or improve your management and leadership skills, drop me a line at maggie@stairwaytoleadership.com

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