4 Reasons Why Your Staff Can’t Respect You

crazypersonMany leaders are not aware of the great power and influence they have over their team. Both directly and indirectly, leaders set the tone, pace and emotional climate of a workplace. Consequently, their actions and attitudes are absorbed by every sponge-like staff member.

When it comes to the subject of respect, every leader wants it and yet many do not know how to get it, let alone keep it. If you feel like your staff is working under par and their attitudes are hard to pin down, consider the probability of those problems reflecting back to a single, common point: you.

There are a lot of obvious and not so obvious reasons for your staff’s lack of respect. Below are 4 explanations that can grant you the power to change today.

You Spill Your Stream of Consciousness

Being transparent and letting people know where you stand can be very beneficial to your team. However, that does not mean you should spill out thoughts (or threats) that you have no real intention of fulfilling.

Those in leadership positions are only human, so of course he/she needs to vent.  But there is a time and place, and within your employees’ earshot is not one of them. I.e., “I can’t believe our inventory count is off again, if this happens one more time, I swear, I am going to revoke the X employee privilege.”

Spewing out your stream of consciousness means you are spilling your thoughts and feelings in the heat of each moment. When you are stressed-out and distracted it is easy to say things you do not mean. Employees cannot respect a leader that makes angry or threatening comments which, once cooled down, never turn into real action.

Find an outside, unbiased outlet that you can express your emotional thoughts to without any backlash. When in the presence of your team be weary of making meaningless comments because chances are your team is taking note of everything you say…and everything you end up not following through with.

You Don’t Ask for Feedback or Provide a Path

As a leader it is your job to implement order and see that necessary changes get carried out.  However, in a lot of cases, your employees are the ones who are dealing directly with customers which means they are the ones that have to deal with the backlash of those changes.

Say for example, your business once provided free shipping and now is changing that policy to a much higher fee.  An employee cannot respect a leader who simply says, “This is the way it is, make the change.”  Sure, some necessary changes will have to be made and your employees may not like it; however, asking for their feedback can help them trust in your processes and procedures.

In addition to getting their feedback (i.e., “Our regular customers are going to be very upset when they learn of the new shipping charge.”) you should also provide a path to aid employees in this new navigation.  Continuing with this example you might implement a one-time grace delivery to your most loyal customers, and then notify them of the change from this point on.  Employees will be able to trust in you if they know that even when you change things up, you’re willing to see them through the shift.

You Play Jekyll and Hyde

If you can make jokes and play around while still getting the necessary tasks done that’s great.  Any employee would appreciate a productive, yet playful environment.

However, if the stress of the job or an outside occurrence suddenly causes you to snap, you could have employees reacting to your next good move with baited breath.  They all will smile nervously wondering, when will the other shoe drop?

Get your emotions in-check.  Sure, everyone is going to have a bad day once in a while, but if you foster an environment of fun and function, you need to learn to communicate to your staff when you’re not in the mood.

People feed off of one another’s energy and that is why it is so important for employees to know where they stand with you.  If one minute you’re cracking a joke and the next minute you’re fuming under your collar, then you’re setting a very unstable emotional climate which your team will have a hard time honoring with respect.

You Don’t Walk the Walk

Having a vision for your company and a culture is necessary for any successful business.  However, you can’t just create a culture, you have to live it.

It is great if day after day you pump high ideals of professionalism into your staff.  For example, you tell them over and over to provide the best customer service and treat each client like gold.  But if you do not model and condition those actions, then your words mean nothing.

Continuing with the customer service example, what would happen if employees saw you rushing customers off the phone, rolling your eyes and complaining about the painstaking steps it takes to make X customer satisfied?  What level of customer service do you think your employees will strive for based on your set example?

The solution to this problem is two-fold.  Walk the walk; if you say you want employees to act a certain way then set a gold star example.  Also, do not set standards that you yourself cannot reach.  You want the best out of your team, so build a level of mutual trust and respect by leading by example and setting the bar at a reasonable level for all.

What other attitudes can keep leaders from earning their employee’s respect?


About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about leadership trends and tips while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a provider of merchant cash advances. You can read her daily business blog here.

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