Do MANAGERS FAIL to Earn Respect?

To be respected is inherent and a natural desirable instinct, however, lot of us do fail. One of the key reason is that we do not spend enough time to nurture the relationship. I have seen more often than not that people are keen to be liked and they do not understand they have not been offered a job to be liked but to be “respected”, they are not here to demand respect, however, to command respect in their professional settings / environment.

Many a times it happens that you drag your body to work while leaving your heart and soul at home due to low morale; you are not excited enough on that day to be at work. You may have the feeling that your colleagues / team members don’t respect you and your boss never listens to you. You find it difficult to see through the action of your managers and fail to establish linkages with your career plan.

It is said that Leadership is an art to get the things done that you want to get done because others want to do it. It is imperative that all of us who are in "to be liked" mode still, get their acts together and start doing (if you haven’t been doing them..!!) certain things as enumerated below to improve your relationships with your sub-ordinates at workplace.

CATCH PEOPLE DOING RIGHT THINGS - I have seen majority of folks do not provide feedback at the very moment if they find somebody doing a good job or more specially when somebody makes a mistake. They stomach it and utter out all that at the time of performance appraisal. Guys this is not going to get you respect. I strongly suggest, if you wish to command respect, do catch people doing right things and reinforce that behaviour then and there. When you catch people doing wrong things, please provide the feedback then and there and be postive in your approach.

BE A FACILITATOR - Simply stated, stop being a manager. With highly talented, skilled and dynamic workforce around, we need to become FACILITATOR as we have trodden through the path and acquired experiential learnings . This is not different than being a senior in college life. You need to be a friend, philosopher and guide to these folks. While significance of theory can not be ruled out, it is imperative that we as FACILITATOR provide them with tricks of the trade.

RESPECT YOURSELF - Respect yourself and you will be respected. I don’t think I need to say something beyond this universal golden rule. This statement is strong and bold enough to strike the right chord!

JUST BE YOURSELF - Don’t try to please everyone around you. Ideally speaking, you just can’t achieve this within your lifetime. Just let yourself be what you are and let your unique personality shine through. People will start accepting and respecting you for what you actually are rather than what you pretend to be.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE - Knowing who you really are is one of the significant steps towards earning respect for yourself. It is imperative that your broader SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity & Threat) analysis is in place. 2/3rd of the population always believe that they are better than their managers, we must take congnizance of this fact. It becomes more relevant and important as this generation is running on high speed and do not seem to have brakes in control. Here you need to play a key role in MANAGING EXPECTATIONS .

LEARN TO SAY, THANK YOU - Another aspect which most of us tend to take for granted is not thanking people enough for their support and help. Always thank people if they have done something for you. You will gain a lot more respect from your seniors and co-workers if you appreciate what they do for you. Start being genuinely thankful to people if they extend a helping hand towards you.
LEARN TO SAY NO - If people are overloading you with work, work and more work or if something is bothering you, just don’t be fearful of saying no. Learn to SAY NO. Nobody knows your boundaries and limitations better than you. You don’t owe them an explanation but if you think you have to explain yourself to relevant people, be transparent to communicate that you already have hands full with assigned tasks. Taking that extra assignment would result into missing a timeline which would mean that you will not be able to deliver the high quality of work you are used to delivering and this would put avoidable pressure on your team.

BE AN EFFECTIVE LISTNER - I believe that when you intend to win an argument or want to get a point across, instead of doing all the talking, do most of the listening. No communication is as strong as listening carefully.

DO NOT MICRO MANAGE - It is imperative for manager to provide space to the staff so that they can experiment and leverage their potential.
There can be many such dos and don’ts for earning a respect for yourself but I have tried to confine myself within the above expressed thoughts. If these fundamental acts are practiced in right perspective, you will CERTAINLY start earning respect for yourself. I have not shared something which we are not aware of; it’s just that we as HR professionals don’t reiterate / reinforce these insights amongst ourselves / other managers on the floor enough and pay requisite attention to the finer nuances of our profession.


  1. Anonymous10:07:00 PM

    Excellent Article.. Just Loved It

  2. Hi Raj,

    Great piece of article and very informative indeed!

    Raj Sanwal

  3. Its a thoughtful creation. These are golden rules of managing one's own self and the team members too. I tend t differ with one poin - we an command respect. Respect is never commanded but earned.

  4. Hi Masoor,

    When I say respect is commanded not demanded, I also mean that this is earned. We both are on the same page! When we refer to demanding respect, it essentially is due to our positions / designation etc.