Virtually all leaders and managers will tell you they strive to have their employees both trust and respect them.
We value good relationships and seek friends who are like-minded, trustworthy and honest. But in both our personal and professional lives, most of us desire to be respected above being liked. It takes a lot of work to successfully lead teams and become the manager others admire. We aren’t born with the traits of trustworthiness and respectability; these have to be shaped, nurtured and trained.
How can you gain your team’s trust and respect? Start by focusing on these seven actions and attitudes.
1. Be honest
We all know that “honesty is the best policy,” so you might not think you have to focus on this. But if you are ever tempted to ask your team to lie for you or your company, remember that employees who are willing to lie for their employers will also be willing to lie to their employers.
The same can be said for leaders. Nothing erodes trust faster than leaders who skirt or hide the truth or blatantly lie to their team, their customers, their supervisor or anyone else. Eventually, the lies are discovered, and reputations will tank.
Be upfront and open about expectations, changes in the workplace, and any problems that arise. If you are legally unable to comment on a company or personnel issue, say so. Answer questions honestly and as completely as possible. The truth might hurt, but the consequences of dishonesty are far worse.
2. Be accountable
Good leaders accept responsibility for their actions, whether favorable or distasteful. Passing the blame to others shows your team you are unreliable and cannot be trusted.
Employees need leaders they can count on. Team members who see their managers accept responsibility for mistakes or problems and graciously shoulder any negative consequences will find courage to do the same. Cultivating this type of courage can be especially helpful when employees have innovative ideas that could shape the business and help it move forward. Rather than holding back, they’ll be more apt to speak up.
3. Be consistent
Saying one thing and doing another is simply being dishonest, both with yourself and others.
We notice inconsistencies. Sure, adjustments need to be made at times, and policies in the workplace can change. But highly respected leaders consistently live the values of their company. They follow up their words with their actions. And they set a high bar for their employees by following through and actively reaching for the team’s goals.
Avoid changing direction when establishing and trying to reach goals. Don’t expect your team to follow a particular strategy while you are doing something entirely different. If you stress the organization’s values, make sure you live them.
4. Be authentic
As a leader, your role is to take the lead. If you want your team to follow through on something, you have to give them a model. You have to guide them along that path. A good leader doesn’t give orders; a good leader does the work. Leadership is an action, not a title.
If you want your team to be more engaged, consider what messages you are sending them. Are you fully immersed in the company’s vision? Its mission? Do you understand why you do what you do and why the company matters?
If you want your team to be more enthusiastic about the latest project or product, consider your own attitude. Are you passionate about the project? Are you showing your team that you are excited about the company’s growth potential? Do you enjoy what you do and understand how you contribute to the overall focus of the company?
If you want your team to reach its goals, are you helping them along the way? Are you actively seeking ways to help them? Are you working alongside them, showing them the value of what they’re doing by how much importance you place on the tasks?
To be authentic and earn trust, show your team you genuinely believe in what you are all doing.
5. Be supportive
Nothing breeds trust faster than a supportive manager. Employees wish to be valued and want their work to be noticed. They also appreciate help when needed, and ideas from helpful managers that can further their creativity. Employees need to feel comfortable with their supervisors, especially when they need to speak up about challenges or ideas.
Leaders who frequently encourage their employees, genuinely listen to their input, and praise them for their hard work will develop loyal employees. All of us need support, and our productivity is likely to increase if we know our supervisor has our back.
6. Be a good role model
The days of leaders giving orders and making demands are long over. Employees want to view their managers as mentors, not monarchs. They want to learn by watching what their leaders do, not being berated for a mistake.
A good role model encourages employees to push themselves, to go beyond expectations, to reach out for other advancement opportunities and grow within the company. They will inspire employees to try new things, enhance their expertise, and refine their skills. A good role model also recognizes what challenges particular employees might encounter and is prepared to help them through those challenges.
7. Be respectful
If you want to be respected, you have to show respect to others. Practicing all of the above steps will prove to your employees that you respect them.
How you treat others, whether they’re employees or customers, will shape how you are viewed. Opinions about you will be formed based on your tone of voice, body language, and ability to listen – even before your words and actions are added.
Never talk down to your team members or call them by derogatory nicknames. Do not repeatedly remind them of past mistakes; instead, speak often of their successes and triumphs. Ask for their ideas and input.
Gaining your team’s trust and respect requires your patience, but it’s worth it in the long run for your personal growth and to strengthen your organization.
People love to follow leaders who are honest, accountable, consistent, authentic, supportive and respectful role models. Sharpen these traits as you work with your team, and you will earn the trust and respect you seek as a leader.
This post first appeared on Thomas Insights.