The days of leading through fear are long gone. Today’s most successful leaders are those who have mastered the balance between asserting themselves vertically and relating to their employees horizontally.
These are the leaders who command respect from their employees: the same ones who can drive constant growth and keep their employees satisfied in the short-term and long-term.
What do they have in common? Exemplary habits: here’s 5 for you emulate on your own leadership journey.
Don’t stop there, though: enrol yourself now in SSA Academy’s WSQ course in leading workplace communication and engagement!
How many times have you encountered someone who kept making lots of claims about himself without being able to back them up?
As a leader, it’s much easier to just give out orders, instructions, and commands to your people. You have the privilege, the position, and the power to do that.
The catch is that in the best-case scenario, you’ll only be a passable, tolerable leader. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll be that boss everybody loves to hate.
You have to be able to display in yourself the behaviour and actions you want to see in your subordinates. People will see that you’re not afraid to lead from the front instead of using your people to shield you from responsibility, damage, and uncertainty, and they’ll respect you for it.
In the same vein, leaders who are committed to using their authority as a means to serve others instantly earn their employees’ respect.
People like Gary Vaynerchuk (CEO of VaynerMedia) and Tony Robbins (life coach extraordinaire), for instance, have constantly evangelised about how important it is for leaders to put people before profits.
Vaynerchuk, specifically, stated in a 2016 interview with Forbes that “too many managers think that people are working for them; they don’t realise that they should be working for their employees.” The reason is simple: the backbone of any company’s success is its people.
If you’re dedicated to serving your people and helping them become the best versions of themselves, you can earn their respect and become a wellspring of motivation and inspiration for them to constantly outdo themselves.
Arrogance is not a good look for a leader. A manager who doesn’t bother to put in the work to build strong and genuine personal relationships with his employees only augments the vertical distance between himself and his people.
Without being emotionally invested in your relationships with your employees, you won’t be able to leverage on those relationships to serve your employees and help them achieve their goals.
You’ll miss out on valuable information like what truly motivates them to wake up in the morning and come to work (it’s different for everyone.)
For example, you won’t know if their personal and career goals have changed since they first joined the team. You won’t know if they’ve been keeping any unaired grievances about the working environment, other team members, or even about you.
Conversely, if people can feel (through that personal relationship) that you truly care for them as people more than just as your employees, you’ll earn their respect and their long-term commitment to the company.
“Honesty is the soul of business.” – Dutch proverb
The key to having a positive workplace culture that breeds high performance and collaboration is excellent communication, which in turn is made by possible by practicing honesty.
All of that starts with transparent leadership.
We live in the age of “fake news”. Leaders who fail to be transparent and honest in communicating with their employees run the risk of making them feel devalued, like grunt workers whose opinions don’t really matter to you, the team, or the organisation as a whole.
On the other hand, leaders who earn respect are transparent about the future of the company, honest about their own mistakes and oversights, and see feedback as a two-way street between themselves and their employees.
One of the most crucial communication skills you could have as a leader is to listen to your people. Trusting their expertise, asking for and paying attention to their input and then responding to it goes a long way in making them feel respected as your employees.
Plans go awry. Strategies fail to produce results. Employees make mistakes. These are inevitable occurrences that every leader has to face. What differentiates a respectable leader is how he or she chooses to respond in that situation.
It comes down to emotional intelligence. A leader who maintains self-awareness and self-regulation in the face of disaster shows mastery over their own impulses.
Anger and disappointment might prompt you to make rash decisions in the heat of the moment.
Show that you can rise above base emotions like that while still asserting yourself by demanding accountability, growth, and continuous improvement from those around you, and you’ll command their respect.