In the past, we have spoken in depth about how important it is that influential leaders are able to command the respect of their employees. This reduces the chance of conflict within the workplace – if people do not respect management, they are more likely to do things their own way and disregard instructions because they second-guess the people giving these directives. Additionally, when people respect management, they are more motivated to collaborate with each other to achieve common goals.
However, respect is not a one-way street. Many times, workers do not respect their leaders because they feel disregarded by them in the first place – managers do not respect their workload, their contributions to the company and their time.
A recent study conducted by Harvard Business Review and Tony Schwartz made it clear that respect was a pivotal leader behavior that had a monumental impact on employees across the company. Being respectful of workers was rated as more important than recognition and appreciation, the ability to communicate an inspiring vision and providing useful feedback.
Employees who feel respected by their managers reported 56 percent better health and well-being, 89 percent greater enjoyment and satisfaction with their jobs and 1.26 times more meaning and significance. Perhaps most importantly, they are also 1.1 times more likely to stay with their employer, which is critical to establishing an engaged workplace and a strong sense of community and culture.
Build relationships with employees around respect
The more employees felt respected by leaders, the more motivated and engaged they became, which should be a signal to managers to be observant of everything they do to ensure they do not accidentally slight workers. Whether subliminally or overtly, it is easy for leaders to convey a lack of respect, both in the actions they take and the language they use when interacting with their employees.
In fact, more than half of survey respondents said they do not regularly get respect from their employers. This leads to less engagement, more turnover, poor focus and productivity and even greater health care costs. Even worse is the fact that this is contagious – when leaders do not show respect for employees, workers may not acknowledge their teammates either, which results in a disjointed and perhaps even adversarial work environment.
So, what causes leaders to behave uncivilly? It could be any number of factors, honestly. Perhaps they have too much work on their on plate, which leaves them with little time to do anything else. Or, maybe they just did not have a role model who helped train leaders in this regard, thus they did not even think of how they convey their intentions or communicate with others.
As leaders move forward, it is important that they consider how they interact and engage with employees. Mutual respect not only improves productivity, it also bolsters influence and can lead to a healthier work environment.