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Reasons Your Staff Don't Respect You and What You Can Do About It

Updated on May 12, 2019
EvieSparkes profile image

Evie Sparkes is a published novelist, content writer, and company director from the UK.

How to earn respect from your staff
How to earn respect from your staff

When Your Staff Don't Listen To You

There are many reasons your staff might not respect you. If you act all matey and try to be everyone's best friend, you will not command respect. I learnt this the hard way several years ago. Sure, be friendly, be informal, be relaxed, be humorous, but be the boss.

When I was twenty six I ran a couple of take-away's with my husband. It wasn't out of choice on my part, but that's another story. All of our staff without exception were under twenty one. They were students. I felt the best way to deal with them was to be like them. They were only a few years younger than me after all. I was their friend. This was my first mistake. Young employees do not take kindly to be told what to do by their friend. I commanded no respect and half of the time I wasn't even sure they were even listening to me. It started to drive me mad, but I had no idea if was my own fault. I thought they were lazy and I started to lose all respect for them. This clearly showed and i'm sure they called me all kinds of horrible names when I wasn't around.

You Must Respect Staff In Order To Receive Respect

I believe respect from staff comes when you show them respect. Having staff does not mean you treat them as if they are beneath you, even though technically you might say they are.

Your staff make up your company. They are a reflection of your ethos and values. If you show them zero respect then you will get zero back. I have been in business for twenty years. I have learnt over those years, how important your employees are to the success of your business.

Make Sure You Lay The Ground Rules

It's important to let staff know how things are run in your business from the outset. Make sure they have a contract and make sure they know that they are signing an agreement and that includes agreeing to abide by your terms of employment.

Make working hours clear and make sure you give them adequate breaks. Encourage them to leave the premises at lunch time where possible.

I always liked to provide tea and coffee and sometimes biscuits or even cake! There is nothing wrong with treating your staff as you would wish to be treated. This did not mean I was being un-boss like. It meant I respected my staff and wanted them to be happy in the work place. Happy staff means greater productivity and happier you.

I am happy to say that I no longer have to deal with the politics of having staff. Writing is a solitary profession. I like that about it. I had staff for many years and now I am enjoying the fact that I don't! It is true to say that employing staff can be very tricky at times. People are so different so it's very important to make sure every member of staff is working to capacity and feeling appreciated. Under appreciated staff are not going to be productive members of your team. Even if you DO appreciate them, they may not know this. I found it was beneficial for me and my staff to have a catch-up chat over a coffee every so often, just to touch base and make sure there was nothing bugging them. These meetings were also useful if I needed to have a stern word with a member of staff.

Don't Tolerate Tardiness

Show your staff that you respect them by getting to the office on time yourself. Even though it's your business and you might feel like so what if you don't stroll in until midday. This annoys staff. I'm not saying you shouldn't set your own hours. If you want to start at ten, then make that your start time and stick to it. Be consistent is all I'm saying.

Don't have favourites. Treat everyone the same. Don't accept lateness from your favourite staff member and not from anyone else.

Encourage staff to talk to you if they have an issue. Tell them that your door is always open so to speak. Check in every now and again. Be mindful of the fact that staff will not tell you they have a problem if you ask them in front of everyone else in the office or work place.

Organise Staff Outings

You might be thinking oh god no and I get it. But staff outings don't have to a team-work activity. Go to the pub after work one Friday a month, organise a staff Christmas party or dinner, invite them to your house on a Saturday for a BBQ! I've done all of these things.

Offer Incentives

I always liked to offer staff incentives to encourage greater productivity. It can motivate staff to strive to do better. You do have to be careful here though because it can also have a more negative effect. I did find it hard to find something that worked. When you give too much away, they might come to expect it as part of the job and it isn't. It's a bonus for great work.

If we did above and beyond our monthly target I would pay a profit share. This didn't happen all that often it has to be said, but it did help to motivate the staff to bring in more business off their own backs which is always a good thing.

Consistency is Key To A Happy Work Place

I found that consistency was definitely key when it came to a happy work environment.

Stick to your policies, have a laugh but stay slightly detached. Allow your staff to have fun with one another and encourage discussion. I always found it valuable to get staff opinion on projects. I didn't know everything. This is a great way to make staff feel appreciated and respected. If you show them that their opinions are important to the success of your business then they will feel valued and in turn have a greater respect for you as the boss.


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