We all know about teamwork and how a great team can make or break a business, especially a small  one.  We’ve learnt about Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing in teams but what about Respect!

As Leaders we seek respect from our team and colleagues but we also know we have to earn that respect.  Earn Respect, what does that actually mean? You can google it and come up with lots of explanations on the internet but what does being respected actually look like?

For me it’s knowing that when I ask something of my staff they don’t ask “Why are we doing that” because they know I have researched what needs to be done for my business and am not just asking them to do something to waste time.  Now, I just said ‘My Business’, really it’s everyone’s business that works there.  They input, they help drive business, they are ‘usually’ the first face of the business and you, the leader/owner, pay the bills, pay them and get work.

Respect for me is knowing I’ve done the best job possible, that I treat everyone equally fairly. I admit when a task is  not my strong point and know what I’m good at.   I’m confident in what I do and what decisions I make.  I think of others before making a decision and if the hard decisions have to be made, my staff know it’s for one reason and one reason only, the business needs it to happen or not to happen.

Some people think that to earn respect you have to be everyone’s ‘buddy’.  Personally I think that makes things harder for you.  Remember Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats?

De Bono’s Black Hat for example is for  judgment — the devil’s advocate or why something may not work and his Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process.  I sometime imagine there is a  Grey or Dark Blue hat that I can use.  I tell my staff about De Bono because it makes it easy to move from that ‘buddy’ mentality to a ‘leader’ and everyone knows I mean what I say. Theyknow I’m not talking for the sake of talking and that something needs to happen.  I do say to them, “I need to put my Business Hat on now” and they know not to take things personally because I’m talking about a task not the person.  It takes away any personal reference and states a fact.  Leaders deal in facts to run a successful business.

Respect also goes two ways, not only do you want your staff to respect you as a leader but you should respect them as well.  Like you they have to earn it but give them a chance to earn respect.  Listen to what they have to say, ideas they come up with, changes that they think would be good for ‘their’ business.  If you are a good leader these things will come naturally for you because you staff know if you have a successful business, they will also be successful.

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