I recently heard a manager state that he didn’t care if his employees liked him. Instead, he wanted them to respect him. Based on what I know about this situation, the employees neither like him nor respect him. In essence, he had what is known as position power and nothing else. The employees did the assigned work only because this manager had the authority to make matters difficult for them.
Managers must work hard to create a fair playing field. I agree that being liked is much less important than being respected, but having others appreciate who you are is a critical component to effective management. When making decisions, you need to consider how the employees will accept them. In other words, a top-down decision-making process is counterproductive to leading a workforce.
Here are 10 signs that demonstrate your employees don’t respect you:
- The employees attend only mandatory meetings. Of those “mandatory” meetings, they will look for excuses to miss some them, such as a “pressing deadline.”
- When you talk, they fail to maintain eye contact. If during a meeting, they are doodling or intensely immersed in their Blackberry or iPad.
- The employees exhaust sick days and vacation time, even when a deliverable is urgent. The more time they are away from work, the more likely they are interviewing for positions external to the organization.
- A “status” meeting quickly evolves into a complaining session. The discussion shifts to personality difference and is not directly related to goals and objectives.
- The employees are uninterested in professional development opportunities specific to the work they do. Instead, they are pursuing advanced education through the organization’s tuition reimbursement program. They want skills and knowledge that are transferrable.
- You hear “credible” rumors (those that surface almost daily) that playing favorites is part of your management style. For example, you approve an expense for one employee you know well, but deny a similar request from another staff member.
- Your employees make it a habit to avoid you. For example, you are on a company business trip in St. Louis, and you are riding solo in your rental car. The rest of the staff mysteriously left you behind.
- It’s your birthday, and only a handful of the employees (“victims”) decided to attend the “party.”
- No one asks you for a letter of recommendation. In fact, they don’t care what you think about them.
- You decide it’s time to leave the department or organization, which leads to a newfound enthusiasm among your employees. Now that you are departing, they are looking for ways to improve the quality of their work. They wouldn’t do that before because you might receive the credit.
Awareness is Important
You have to be aware of how your employees feel about you. Avoid thinking that you have every answer. More important, understand that micro-managing people is counterproductive. The employees who want you to monitor their every step are usually the low producers.
Gaining respect from our employees takes time. You can speed up the process by using a consensus-building approach. Ask your employees what they need to do their work more effectively. Let them know how you are measured, and give them the tools and authority to help you reach the departmental goals. The attitude must be that success only comes from working as a team, and you cannot afford to let each other down.