If you want to gain the respect of your team, you must recognize their work and learn to connect with them in a meaningful way.
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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.
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Being a successful leader means being good at what you do and having integrity. But more than anything, it’s about your ability to create healthy relationships with other people, particularly those who work for you.
As an entrepreneur , you are viewed differently than when you were a manager or colleague in a traditional job. You excel at getting the most out of the company’s success, and it’s easier for your employees to believe that you have a greater interest in the business than in them. Your success is paramount, but you should not achieve it at the expense of relationships with those on whom you depend.
Take note of these tips to become the kind of boss that all employees love and respect:
1. Don’t treat people like transactions
A few years ago, in my first real job out of college, I was delighted to have my own assistant. She was a very capable and competent woman and I really liked her. One day while a client was visiting my office, I made the naive mistake of introducing her by saying, “This is Teri. Work for me”. Teri’s response would have served me better in private, but her point was very valid: “I work with you, not for you.”
I had no intention of disrespecting her with my words, but they suggested that Teri was a means and not an end, and also that I was “above” her. And although technically she reported to me, the difference between working to work with is critical; the first can make the person feel conquered, while the second refers to collaboration.
Think carefully about the way you name and refer to your employees. Focus on reciprocity – Look for ways they can achieve their personal and professional goals while helping you achieve yours. Show appreciation for those who have voluntarily decided to work for you.
2. Invest in those you value
Image: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash
The main test of how much you value a relationship is how much time, interest, and support you are willing to invest in it. Instead of asking “What have you done for me lately?” Turn the matter around and ask yourself what have you done lately for those you really value.
Here’s a way to invest to generate higher dividends: Identify the potential in an employee that he or she has not yet recognized. People are often blind to their own abilities and potential, and good leaders not only recognize these latent strengths, they help develop them.
Many years ago, my office manager was spending more time on our website and technology platforms. A colleague was hosting an event in Las Vegas that I knew would give a member of my team information to improve those areas. Going to Las Vegas for the event was an extra expense, but I gladly paid for the seminar and the trip. When she returned she was better equipped for the job and motivated that I was willing to pay for her success.
3. Get involved, but know your limits
Image: Tara Moore | Getty Images
You can work in the same office with the same people every day and still be absent because you are too immersed in your worries. An open door policy means nothing if you don’t stop what you’re doing long enough to pay attention to whoever crosses it.
How can you do this? Make it a point to “check-in” with each employee every day. That means asking a simple but honest question: “How are things going?” Listen and if necessary find information that you can use to help your employees. Identify the frustrations they are experiencing, the opportunities they have found, and assess their energy and commitment to work.
You will know that you are micromanaging if you spend more time telling someone how to do things than clarifying what needs to be done. Give people the freedom to achieve the best results in their own way.
4. Show your gratitude
I have heard multiple complaints from employees that they feel belittled by their boss, but I have never heard someone complain when they are recognized or rewarded too much. I have never understood why many bosses and entrepreneurs are afraid of giving verbal recognition. Don’t be afraid to overdo it. You will connect with people more deeply when you recognize the best in them.
Here’s a powerful way to show appreciation: When you get customer feedback about someone on your team who did a great job, ask for their permission to record it. Then put the recording in the next meeting with your team. There is more power in an expression of a client than simply doing it yourself.
Growing your business successfully means doing everything you can to make sure your team wants to work well for you. That means connecting with employees in a meaningful way.