How to Be a Manager that Your Employees Respect: 73 Surefire Tips

Updated: March 17, 2010

You've got that look on your face, the look that screams charisma and style. You've got that air about you, the air that exudes confidence and capability. You've got the qualities that rake in the big bucks for your organization and your employees jump to attention when you appear making sure to work their butts off when you're around. You're probably not far off from thinking that you're the best manager in town.

But do your employees do their best when you're not around? Do they prefer to work for you rather than any other manager in the company? Do they make a beeline to get in on your team? Do they go that extra mile to do that task more efficiently without being asked? Do they have nice things to say about you, even when you're not within earshot? In short, do they respect you, both as a person and as their superior?

If you answered yes to most of the questions above, you're on the road to becoming a manager who's earned the esteem and admiration of all, or most of your employees. For those of you who did not, cast your worries aside; we've compiled a list of tips that, if followed, are guaranteed to win you the loyalty and respect of your subordinates.

Interactions - the lifeblood of any organization…

1. What goes around comes around: Treat your employees, peers and superiors with respect, from the lowest janitor to the CEO of the company.

2. Basic humaneness pays: Acknowledge that your employees are human beings first, and your employees only next; accord them their due dignity.

3. Know your employees: Using first names thaws a formal atmosphere and makes for a more harmonious work environment. Throw in a casual question about a child or a problem you know they recently went through.

4. Bring out their hidden potential: Tap your employees hidden talents and bring them to the front.

5. One man's meat is another's poison: What serves as motivation for one may not mean as much to another, use your discretion in getting the best out of your employees.

6. Equality among all: It's not wise to play favorites and show bias when dealing with your employees.

7. Don't be a Jack-of-all-trades: Delegate work. Your employees will welcome the chance to show what they are capable of.

8. Match the right job to the right person: Some people are more suited to creative tasks while others are better at the repetitive ones. As a manager, you should be able to sense when tasks and personnel are mismatched and set things right quickly.

9. Delineate responsibility: Establish boundaries of control for each employee so that blame or praise can be assigned accordingly.

10. Trust your employees: Do not monitor every aspect and moment of their working day. The realization that you trust them to do their jobs effectively without supervision will drive them to justify that faith.

11. Pay them well: Salaries should be on par or higher than industry standards. Adequate monetary compensation is one of the best motivators for hard work.

12. Reward exceptional performances: Acknowledge and appreciate every extra effort that your employees take. While money as an incentive is always welcome, I'm sure they'll also welcome professional advancement opportunities, a day or a few hours off, or just a pat on the back.

13. Praise in public, punish in private: Taking an employee to task in front of his/her colleagues, even though he/she may have erred, has the worst kind of demoralizing effect. On the other hand, complimenting them on a job well done in the presence of others serves to motivate them to perform better.

14. Loudness does not help: Do not rake employees over the coals for mistakes that happen inadvertently. Instead, help them understand the error so they don't repeat it. A loud voice and swear words will only make them tune out to the message you are trying to convey.

15. Personalization is the key: Each of us is different; while some employees may appreciate you following an informal approach in all your interactions, others may not take kindly to the familiarity.

16. Lend a ear: Empathize with their personal problems without getting too involved in their personal lives.

17. Make them feel they count: Every employee likes to know that he/she is making a positive contribution to the company and is not just a decorative piece that is dispensable. The fact that they make a difference will drive them to be more productive.

18. Family matters: Allow your employees time for their families and personal issues when the situation warrants it. Support them in times of emotional upheavals when you know they may not be able to turn in their best work.

19. Constructive criticism works: If you feel that an employee has the potential to do much better at his/her job, take them aside and tell them how you feel. Sometimes, the belief that a superior has in you pushes you to achieve more.

20. Be a mentor: Anyone can be a superior, but it takes a special person to be a mentor to people working under him/her. Encourage your employees' positive aspects and help them eliminate their weaker traits.

21. Don't hold too tight: Allow your employees to pursue both professional and personal opportunities to advance. Holding them back only shows your pettiness. Help them further their education or broaden their horizons in work-related skills. This builds both respect and intense loyalty.

22. Flattery will get you nowhere: Do not flatter your employees to get them to do their job. A good manager (or employee) knows the difference between praise and flattery. The former is welcome, the latter, a definite no.

23. Ask and you will receive: Get suggestions and opinions from your employees. Ask them for better ways to go about work and newer methods to improve productivity. Besides improving their respect for you, it will make them feel part of the whole process.

24. Mistakes happen: Allow your employees room to make mistakes and you'll find that they do a perfect job. Running a tight ship will only make them nervous and lead to a lot of errors.

25. Give credit where it's due: Do not ride piggyback on your employees as you take the path to success. If a brilliant concept was the brainchild of your employee, accord him due credit, especially in front of your superiors.

26. Group dynamics: Learn to manage your team well. Know which people work well together, who does which tasks the best, and who is capable of what, in order the get the best results from team work.

27. Feedback matters: Provide correct feedback. If the feedback is it's negative, don't let it demoralize your employees; if it's positive, don't let it go to their heads.

28. Share misfortune: Show your solidarity with your employees when they are forced to take a pay cut when the organization faces financial difficulties. It's difficult, but offering to slash your salary will win you oodles of respect.

29. It's a diverse world: Respect the cultural and social differences of your employees. Their religion and rituals mean a lot to them; belittling them will not win you any brownie points.

30. Show interest: Indifference is as bad, if not worse, than too much interference. Take the right amount of interest in what your employees do.

31. Allow them to complain: Hear them out before deciding if their complaint is genuinely valid.

32. Different people, different styles: Each employee has his/her working style; recognize this and allow them that freedom as long as it does not affect the job being done.

33. No technology needed: Break bad news to your employees in person. If you have to let them go or ask them to take a pay cut, do not resort to hiding behind an email.

34. Equal work, equal pay: Distribute work evenly so that no one person feels he/she is unfairly burdened.

35. Judge not: Don't play favorites in employee quarrels and misunderstandings; you're not Solomon the Wise or the Supreme Court judge deciding who's wrong and who's right. If it's work-related, try to smooth things over without taking sides; otherwise, stay out of it.

36. No tattletales wanted: Don't encourage employees who carry tales about their peers.

37. Time flies: Don't set unreasonable deadlines knowing fully well that your employees will have to give up every second of their free time to get the task done on schedule.

38. Disseminate information: Keep your employees within the loop. Inform them of all decisions that will affect and be affected by their work. Don't treat them as mindless machines that are used only to get the job done.

39. Keep your distance: Don't become too friendly with certain employees even though you feel you're on the same wavelength. Others may suspect favoritism, even when there is none.

40. No "I" only "We": Don't flaunt your authority; "You have to do it because I say so" is not the way to go when you want your employees' respect; you may get the job done but lose your employee's esteem in the process.

Work out work and vacation issues…

41. Do not overburden them with work: Just because you know your employees are not in a position to refuse your demands, do not dump work on them. You stand to anger them and run the risk of a poorly performed job.

42. Vacations are personal: When your employees have time off, do not demand to know where they're going or who they're taking along. Do not invade their personal space.

43. Keep the office at the office: Avoid calling employees at home or during vacations unless there is an emergency of the direst nature. Seek prior permission to call in such cases.

44. Avoid last-minute tasks: No one likes to start a task at the end of the day, especially when you have other plans for the evening. Do not throw work at your employees just as they are about to call it a day.

If you are male…

45. No adult humor: Do not crack vulgar and offensive jokes at the expense of female employees or the wives/girlfriends of male employees.

46. Accord respect: Treat your female employees well; do not look down on them or show chauvinistic tendencies.

47. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: Remember that male and female physiques are different. Cut your female employees some slack when they have special needs during pregnancy, childbirth, maternity and PMS.

If you are female…

48. No false pretenses: Do not take perverse pleasure in putting down male employees just because you feel the need to assert yourself.

49. Clothes maketh the (wo)man: Dress appropriately. Clothes that reveal more than they cover will only make you the butt (no pun intended) of office jokes.

There's always room for personal improvement…

50. Be the best: Employees automatically respect managers who are good at their jobs and who know what they are talking about. It's very difficult to listen to an employer that doesn't make very much sense.

51. Manage your time: It pays to be organized. Plan your day and chart out your activities so that you don't have to rush around in front of your employees.

52. Ethics matter: Be ethical in all your dealings, from the most trivial to the most important. Your employees will not only hold you in high regard, they will also follow the example you set.

53. Be proactive, not reactive: Take control of events and happenings. Don't wait for things to happen before you decide your course of action.

54. Admit your mistakes: It's hard to swallow pride and admit that you're wrong, especially to your subordinates. Doing so will not only make them admire you more, but also make it easier for them to admit their own mistakes.

55. Rudeness does not pay: Learn the art of being authoritative without appearing to be rude.

56. Neither does arrogance: Do not swagger around in the mistaken knowledge that just because you are their superior, you have the right to do what you want.

57. Waste not, want not: Do not waste your time in trivial pursuits, even if you do not have important work to do. Idle chatter on the phone, browsing the Internet for fun, or chatting on the Web are better left out of the office, especially if you don't want your employees doing the same thing.

58. Humor works: A sense of humor, especially one directed at yourself, will go a long way in getting your employees to respect and like you as a person.

59. Focus, focus, focus: Stay focused on targets, both personal and the organization's. It's easier to shepherd your flock when you have a clear idea of where you're leading them.

60. Avoid the office grapevine: Do not support or join in gossip about your employees. The subject of the rumor (or truth) will certainly lose his/her last smidgen of respect for you.

61. Be one of the gang: Do not consider it below your dignity to do tasks that you normally ask your employees to do. Sharing their responsibility at times will help them relate to you on a more personal level.

62. Take love out of the air: Do not get romantically involved with or flirt with your employees.

63. Watch what you do: Inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment could end up costing you more than just the respect of your subordinates.

64. Don't suck up: Kissing up to your superior or boss will not put you in the good books of your employees. The ones that do approve your behavior will try to work their flattery on you to get on your good side.

65. Practice what you preach: Lead by example: come in early if you expect your employees to do so, stay late, work overtime, forgo vacations - anything you ask them to do, be willing to do it yourself.

66. Look and learn: Is there another manager that your team admires? Watch his actions - there are valuable lessons he can teach you.

67. Stand firm on your beliefs: Do not hesitate to stand up for what you believe is right, and do not cave in under pressure.

68. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again: Do not let failure get you down. Use your tribulations as stepping stones to success.

69. Stay firm on terra firma: Do not let success go to your head. Remember, life is full of ups and downs. Celebrate jobs well done and projects completed on time, but in an understated manner.

70. Be approachable: Let your employees know they can come to you with any issue and that you will give them both your time and a fair hearing.

71. Forgive and forget: Do not bear personal grudges against employees. It comes in the way of doing your job effectively.

72. Wisdom pays: Take decisions that are advantageous to both the organization and your employees; favoring one over the other will either make you less efficient or less popular.

73. Be there: You may not need to be around to get things done in the office, but make sure you are in everyday, monitoring progress and mapping out plans. An absent manager who comes in only to take credit for the work of his/her team is placed right at the bottom of the respect scale.


Being a manager, especially one that your employees respect and look up to, is certainly no piece of cake. Respect is one quality that is not innate, it has to be earned. Fame and fortune may come overnight, but not respect - you have to work at the qualities that make your subordinates proud to be a part of your unit, little by little, day by day, week after week.

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