Starting a new role can be intimidating for many people; a new environment, colleagues and perhaps an entirely different job role. All of these prospects will naturally create apprehension, however, this is increased even further if an individual is required to manage a team they have never met before. Or perhaps you are in your current role and your colleagues aren’t respecting you as they should. Maybe they are making you feel on edge by obviously judging your abilities, whether that is directly through body language or via office gossip. Whichever situation you are facing, don’t fear! Here are a few tips for effectively building or rebuilding a culture of respect.
Determine whether it is perception or reality
Firstly, look at yourself. You may be observing behaviour subjectively, seeing it as a lack of respect because you are not confident in your own skills and leadership abilities. On the other hand, there may be certain behaviours that if ignored, will grow into larger problems – so learning the difference between unacceptable behaviour and false perception is key.
As a leader, being aware at all times will allow you to realise when mutual respect begins to slip. If things begin to take a turn for the worst, take note of all instances that occur and organise a meeting with your team to discuss how everyone is feeling and to create a plan to get things back on track.
Pay attention to the small details
Whilst they may seem insignificant, it is vital to keep a close eye on smaller, more subtle changes, as these can quickly escalate into bigger problems. Problems such as talking back and gossiping may be much easier to resolve and deal with, however, less obvious challenges such as ignored emails or not completing a task on time also need attention and a quick resolution. Now, this is not to say that every missed email or slipped deadline is caused by a lack of respect, but if you continue to see the same people constantly doing this, it could be a sign that further action is needed.
Enlist the help of your team
Stop attempting to solve everything by yourself; hold a team meeting and allow everyone to share their thoughts and solutions, ensuring you have an open mind to all suggestions. Collaborating with your team to come up with solutions can help build a mutually respectful environment, as they will acknowledge that you value their thoughts and inputs. If you are worried about office politics, it may be a good idea to bring in someone external to ensure the conversation remains productive and helpful.
Don’t cancel meetings
Don’t disregard the importance of meetings or see them as something you have to do just to tick a box; use them correctly and as an opportunity to receive employee feedback. Communication is essential in all fields of work, especially when working in a team. Allow your team to ask you questions about your role in the business and ask them how they are getting on or if they need support in any areas. Clearly communicating your expertise will build a level of trust as well as respect amongst the office. To ensure the meetings are as productive as possible, let the team know in advance so they can prepare. Make the meetings a regular occurrence – ideally once a week, preferably the beginning, and as the manager, lead the discussion but allow everyone to share ideas and feedback throughout. Finally, attempt to finish all meetings positively in order to increase motivation in the workplace.
In summary, respect is earned and leaders have a responsibility to maintain levels of respect within their teams by setting boundaries and addressing troublesome behaviours promptly. Remaining alert is essential to nipping issues in the bud before they become larger problems. Maintaining open channels of communication for regular feedback is essential to creating mutual respect; although you are the leader, it is important to accept that you might not always have all the answers. Working collaboratively with your team is the perfect way to build ongoing respect, trust and mutual appreciation.
Are you looking to establish respect as a leader? Get in touch today to explore our internal career development programmes and put your best foot forward!