Guest post from Peter Economy:
When you’re the new leader on the block, earning respect from peers and employees who don’t even know you can certainly be a struggle. A higher leadership status won’t automatically give you the authority or trust with your people that you need to get things done. You’ll have to earn that authority and trust to become an effective and successful leader or boss.
New leaders are stepping up every day. If you’re one of them, here are 7 ways that will bring you a level of respect that is meaningful and well-deserved.
1. Have an open door. Let your colleagues and employees know you are always available for them. The last thing you want is for the people you are leading to think you are unapproachable and unavailable, so let them know their wants, needs, and feedback are valued and a priority for you. If you are out of the office a lot, be sure to provide your people easy ways to contact you by phone, email, text messages, or other forms of communication.
2. Appreciate effort. It is surely demotivating for employees when their hard work doesn’t seem to be appreciated by the organizations that employ them, or the men and women who lead them. Let workers know that you have noticed their effort, and even make a point of rewarding it when appropriate.
3. Care about employee well-being. Respect is easily earned when you show how much you care about the well-being and success of your peers and employees, both collectively and individually. Listen to what your team is saying whenever they discuss work or personal matters.
4. Be personable. Not everyone has to be your best friend, but a respectable leader is often a personable one. A focus of yours as a new leader should be to strengthen your relationships with those around you. Be aware of your own behavior and the way you come across to others. Be helpful, welcoming, and pleasant. Keep your relationships positive and amicable and success will surely follow.
5. Provide a real sense of autonomy. If you’re a boss who micromanages, the people who work for you will invariably become frustrated because you’re sending a loud-and-clear message that you don’t trust their ability to do the work. Trust the people you’re leading to make the right moves and do their work well and empower them when possible.
6. Be consistent. Follow through with what you say you’re going to do. Be on time to meetings so your employees aren’t twiddling their thumbs, waiting for you do show. Stick to deadlines. Don’t tell others to do one thing and then you do another. People will respect you more if they know you don’t offer only empty promises!
7. Be patient. New leaders require a great amount of patience—both with their teams and with themselves. Learning effective management will not happen overnight; it takes time (and, sometimes, mistakes) for you to learn the ropes and for others to acclimate to a new leader. Don’t worry—stick with it and you’ll get there.
Peter Economy is the bestselling author of Managing for Dummies (more than 600,000 copies sold globally) and is The Leadership Guy at INC.COM who averages more than 500,000 page views a month for his more than 1,500 columns published to date. He routinely works with C-level executives, executive coaches, and business consultants worldwide. His new book is called Wait, I’m the Boss?!?