Congratulations, you’re in charge of your team now! The dynamic at work is changing, but don’t worry, you got this!
If you want your direct reports to respect you, it’s important that you first show them the respect that they deserve.
Actively treating all of your workers fairly, demonstrating your value for them through your words and actions, listening to their concerns and addressing them as best you can will set you apart as a leader that they can trust and respect.
Garrett Mintz, founder of Ambition in Motion, discusses the way that the best leaders are the ones who dole out credit and take accountability for things that don’t go the way that they’re supposed to.
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At Ambition in Motion, we don’t control the content of one’s work but we can have an impact on how people interact with each other at work.
At your company, you are in charge of your direct reports! The respect that you receive from them must be earned, and it begins with your ability to be confident in your actions and malleable to your new work environment.
How can I get my direct reports to respect me as a leader?
- Give out Credit
- Take Accountability
What does it mean to take accountability?
Being “accountable” is more than just taking responsibility, or being reliable.
Several veins run through a truly accountable leader.
Accountability is a skill that requires leaders to own up to a team’s actions, decisions, and mistakes. It’s also the ability to follow up on the commitments you have made within an organization and its people.
As a leader of others, you are actively representing your organization, and promoting the quality of work that you aim to produce and to be produced by others. When things do not go according to plan, take the initiative to be the first to shine a light on the opportunity to grow, as a team.
What does it mean to give out credit?
The best leaders give credit to others, they don’t take credit for themselves.
When you represent a team of people, one of your biggest goals is to encourage them to be the best that they can be. Just as your team is learning and growing, you are also learning how you can help them best grow and reach their highest potential by remaining malleable to their work processes. Every member of your term plays an important role in the execution of your overall goal; the more respect and power that you give to them, the more success you will find.
However, mistakes happen. A leader who assumes the blame, and passes the credit, send a message that mistakes are OK and that when they happen, it will be an opportunity to learn and grow. By inspiring those in your charge, your employees will emulate your best traits, which will include assuming the blame for themselves.
The best leaders inspire others and give credit.
Why is it important that I give credit and take accountability?
Giving credit and taking accountability sets yourself apart from the team, as a guide toward your team’s overall success. The more emphasis that you put on guiding your team, rather than showcasing your leadership (by taking credit or blaming others for mistakes), the more respect you will gain from your direct reports. Check out these leadership tips:
- Encourage your team
Earning your team’s respect starts with building a trusting and positive community within the team.
Encouraging and promoting others to do their best and work together also boosts productivity because it makes employees feel less isolated and helps them to feel more engaged with their tasks.
By creating a positive and supportive work environment, your direct reports will not only trust and respect you, but they will also work harder to produce good results as they aim to live up to the high standards that you hold for them.
2. Recognize and praise good work
Although it’s important to give credit to your team, public praise is great for both recognition and learning. When you publicly share specifically what was great and why it was great, not only does it have more meaning for the person being praised, but it helps the whole team learn something new.
Remember to provide details about what the person did, the impact, and the context so that the whole team learns.
When you recognize good work, you remind your team what you’re working towards, and what they’re doing right, which in turn, inspires them to keep doing better. This plethora of inspiration and praise allows for a more open-minded environment for idealization between you and your direct reports.
3. Correct in private
Although praise is an extremely important part of your relationships with your direct reports, it is normal for things to go wrong sometimes! However, it’s important to correct people’s mistakes in private, and then later emphasize to the team what they should avoid, without calling anyone out personally.
Private criticism is important in order to be kind and clear. Radical Candor is not the same thing as “front-stabbing”, and it’s much kinder to criticize someone in private.
Public criticism can feel unnecessarily harsh. Private criticism will also be clearer because it’s much less likely to trigger a person’s defense mechanisms.
4. Acknowledge workplace adaptation
Yes, you have new direct reports!
Yes, the workplace dynamic is different now. Own it!
As a new manager, it’s important to remember that just as your team is learning to adjust to you, you are also learning to adjust to them and your new position.
Do not be afraid to emphasize this learning curve to your team. In order to create a culture of respect that encourages growth and high levels of success, it’s your job to make learning a part of your daily routine in the workplace.
Learning helps people keep a broad perspective.
An important part of your job is to know that your direct reports are counting on you to guide them. When mistakes are made, it is no one’s fault (including you), but as a manager, you make a promise to your team to lead them in the right direction as best you can, meaning you must learn to take accountability for team mistakes. However, this is a positive part of your job! Not only will you take accountability for mistakes, but you will do it with pride, and emphasize a learning curve in everything that you do, and everything that your team does; mistakes are OK!
5. Be transparent about your motives
Transparent communication is the act of both good and bad information being shared upward, downward, and laterally in a way that allows all to see the why behind the words.
A workplace with transparent communication is a more collaborative and trustworthy workplace, with information being openly shared between employees and across levels of the organization.
Transparent communication also allows employees to be more innovative since they are more informed. Additionally, transparent communication encourages others to communicate openly and increases the sharing of ideas.
When transparent communication is present between you and your direct reports, you allow the workplace to be collectively informed about the true happenings within the organization in order for them to align their actions accordingly, ultimately making your job easier and removing any confusion about the team’s overall goals.
These leader tips will help you set the grounds for a positive, encouraging work environment.
Real accountability requires leaders to take responsibility and pride in the art of encouraging and guiding their employees. Being an accountable leader is not as easy as it may sound, but it is necessary to bring genuine value to your team of employees and your organization as a whole. However, taking responsibility and giving out credit whenever possible will set you apart from other leaders, and enable your direct reports to respond positively to your leadership.