Humility, self-control, recognition, caring, communication, and professional rules of engagement are some of the best ways to ensure your employees like and respect you.
Having had the pleasure of leading thousands of people and building high-performing teams over a 21-year career, I feel I can help you with the common question, “How do you get your employees to like you?”
How you behave, your actions, and how you treat individuals and the team are key deciding factors that make the difference between an employee saying, “I have a great boss” or “I hate my boss.”
These 13 proven insights will get your employees to like and respect you and improve their motivation and commitment to the job and the company.
1. Don’t Be Arrogant
Arrogance is the act of behaving with self-importance, entitlement, or superiority over others. While you may believe you are important, especially in a management or leadership position, you need to act with humility. Any display of superiority, or belittling, will negatively impact that employee and your entire team.
You should never be boastful about your experience or skills; your talents will be evident to your employees in your decision-making and day-to-day actions. Let your action speak for itself.
Academic Research Arrogance: A Formula for Leadership Failure demonstrates that: “Workplace arrogance can be a serious problem. Arrogant employees are poor performers who negatively impact social exchange in the workplace. They make little effort to engage in citizenship behaviors and discount feedback that would otherwise help improve their performance.”
2. Be Humble
Being humble is a great strength and powerful mindset in leadership. Your humility demonstrates to your employees that you are open to listening to others, weighing differing ideas, and accept your team members for who they are. Your employees will love you for it.
Research by (Nielsen et al., 2010) shows that “Accordingly, the employees of a humble leader should be more committed to the leader’s vision and more trusting and receptive of the leader’s expectations and ideas.”
3. Never Lose Your Temper
Anger in the workplace is a serious barrier to getting your employees to like you. Getting angry and losing your temper will demonstrate to your employees and co-workers that you have lost control of a situation and give them the green light to vent their frustration through anger and aggression.
Ultimately you set the tone for how your team behaves; if you are angry, your team will become aggressive, and trust will break down.
Research into the Experience of Workplace Anger states, “existing research into the experience of emotions in the workplace suggests that anger is commonly experienced and might have detrimental effects not only on the health of the individual experiencing it but also for the organization.”
A working environment without arrogance and anger is a core foundation of developing trust and the goodwill of your employees.
4. Always Treat Employees With Respect
A surefire way to get your employees to like and respect you is to like and respect them. Eradicating arrogance and anger and encouraging respectful behavior in all aspects of the workplace creates a safe environment where employees can operate close to peak performance.
Disrespecting one employee will break the circle of trust with all employees, so be careful how you treat others.
There is a fine line between respect and acceptance. If an employee’s behavior is intolerable, you do not have to accept it. But you must deliver feedback on the behavior respectfully, or you may humiliate the employee, which will breed contempt.
This study illustrates that “even workers in the early stages of their careers can feel increasingly embedded in their organizations when they feel increasingly respected by their colleagues.”
5. Treat Your Employees Fairly
Treating employees fairly is crucial to establishing trust and a positive relationship with your staff. If employees understand that you treat them all equitably and they have recourse, if they feel they are unfairly treated, they will have more commitment to you, their job, and the broader organization.
Practically, fairness and ethical leadership in the workplace means providing advancement and development opportunities to all staff. It also entails managing conflict equitably and not discriminating against any individual employee.
This study shows that “A positive work environment was more likely to occur when employees had a moderate to high sense of equity, which influenced factors related to acceptance of change, a stronger commitment to the organization, and better understanding and agreement with organizational goals. Study findings reaffirm the need for administrators to support organizational justice through expanded use of work team processes whereby staff are involved in assessing organizational functionality and recommending improvements.”
6. Recognize Your Employee’s Contribution
Taking time to recognize your employee’s achievements publicly is a guaranteed way to earn the respect and commitment of your team. From your newest employee to your most established veteran worker, recognition for a job well done or a goal achieved is the single most effective way to motivate and energize your employees.
Take the time at the beginning of your team meetings to share individual and team achievements and encourage clapping and cheering from your team. Placing time for recognition at the beginning of the meeting shows that you value your people first and will also energize the team for the rest of the meeting.
Productivity research highlights that you should not only recognize high achievers because that will only benefit the top 5% of employees. The real benefits come in recognizing the whole team for their progress and commitment.
“The benefits from frequent, sincere appreciation can be seen on the bottom line of every measurable corporate attribute, including productivity, sales, product and service quality, and customer satisfaction.” National Productivity Review.
7. Set Standards For Teamwork
Employees working in an effective and respectful team will naturally be more motivated and have a better relationship with their supervisors. The key is to establish ground rules for teamwork. Communicate to the team what you expect from them, individually and as a group.
Standards for teamwork:
- Respectful behavior
- No team politics
- Assisting those who are overworked
- Peer to peer coaching for employees who are struggling
- Helping others achieve their goals
- Mutual accountability, “if the team fails, we all fail.”
- Achieving a good work-life balance together
A study in the International Journal of Education and Research suggests: “Fostering a healthy work and home life balance tends to make organizations run smoother and less problematically, especially in areas of grievance and counseling, stress and conflict, disputes and litigation, recruitment and staff retention, succession planning, company reputation, and image.”
8. Build Your Teams Reputation
If you take the time to build your team’s reputation within the broader organization, your employees will love you for it. Establishing the success and recognition of your team means that your employees will gain greater respect in the company and will have more opportunities to progress in their careers.
Having a high-performing team that consistently hits their targets and works effectively together takes time. But once you have a fluid progressive team, its reputation will grow, and so will your employee’s pride, commitment, and career prospects.
9. Show You Care, Have Empathy
Showing you care is a great way to get your employees to like you. But caring is not bringing donuts and coffee in for breakfast on Friday; caring and empathy are more personal. Do not judge a person until you have walked in their shoes.
An employee calls you to say they will be late due to a family emergency or need time off due to health issues; how you react in these situations will demonstrate if you really care.
10. Coach Employees Who Need Help
In every team, there will be employees who are for various reasons struggling to achieve their goals; helping team members through the bad times is an important way to improve your relationship and their performance.
Please do not wait until the performance review to tell your employee they failed. You need to be proactive and provide them with the assistance they need to achieve their goals before the review.
You can provide help yourself through coaching or assign other team members to help improve the employee’s performance.
11. Give Positive & Constructive Feedback
The performance feedback loop between employees and their manager is key to improving motivation and fostering a positive working relationship. Feedback is best-provided face to face in a private setting. You must ensure you provide not only positive feedback but also fair, constructive input to help them improve performance and guide them on their career goals.
“Constructiveness and feedback source interacted to affect interpersonal fairness. Interpersonal fairness, in turn, directly influenced participants’ level of attention which moderated the relationship between their desire to improve and their actual task performance.” Source.
12. Ask Your Employee How You Can Make Them Successful
A key way to improve your relationship with your employees is to show your commitment to their success. You can achieve this with a simple question; “How can I make you successful.” Not only do you need to ask this question, but you need to follow up the answer with action.
If you are committed to individual and team success, your employees will have a deep respect for you and a more positive outlook on the company.
13. Have Regular One on One Meetings
If you genuinely want to lead a high-performing team with motivated employees who like and respect you, then the most important meetings in your diary are the one-on-one meetings with your team members.
The one-to-one meeting enables you to catch up on the employee’s goal progression, provide them assistance and feedback, and connect on a personal level. If you have a 30-minute one-on-one meeting with each of your employees every two weeks, you will ensure each person is on the right track and motivated.
If you neglect one-on-one meetings, you neglect your team.
Summary: How To Get Your Employees to Like & Respect You?
We all want to be treated with fairness and respect, and no one likes a controlling and boastful boss. If you keep in mind the aspirations and needs of your employees, recognize their achievements, and help them be successful, you have the recipe for a positive and motivated team and employees who will like and respect you.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Along with all of the above points, I would also suggest that if a person would like to manage a team, he/she has to be a charismatic leader. A Great leader should have all the qualities to thrive in a challenging environment & help his/her employees to thrive as well.
Great comment Chris, I agree
What would you suggest for a very large team, ex: I have 71 employees, federal employees at that….it’s impossible to get to each of them every two weeks. I have been pondering holding the 1on1’s w/my team leads x5 and possibly having them hold their sessions with the employees but it seems a bit impersonal. Any help is greatly appreciated
Hi Trever, good question. You are right 71 staff is too many for a 121 every two weeks. You need to utilize your team leads and perhaps coach them on how to conduct good 121s. Additionally, you could attend your team leaders’ team meetings once per month for an open Q&A session. Also tell the team you have an open door policy and any can come to talk with you if they need guidance or have issues.
thanks for the comment and question.
Good morning Barry,
I also had a “boss” whom I didn’t like. Turns out, not 1 of his subordinates (1bout 250+ people) had any respect for him.
The underlying problem was that he’s insecure yet got a huge ego problem.
Instead of earning respect, he’d always demand respect.
On top of that, he is not a man of his words so I could not think of him positively.
Even when he was being sub-par at best, I always showed him respect and tried to like him.
It was over when he refused to compensate me for the overtime I did working for his project. He also accused me of things I didn’t do, yet never appreciated what I’ve done for him.
Now I show him that I got no respect for him and I’m glad he knows.
I’ll just take that as a learning lesson and not be like him.
Hi Luther, wow, thanks for the story. Unfortunately, this kind of management behavior is too common.