The Leadership Behavior Employees Most Want

We often search for the most important thing. Christine Porath, associate professor at Georgetown University, along with other researchers, believe the leadership behavior that employees most want is respect.

48% of people who experience disrespect at work intentionally decrease their work effort. 78% are less committed to their organization.*

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“Being treated with respect was more important to employees than recognition and appreciation, communicating an inspiring vision, providing useful feedback — or even opportunities for learning, growth, and development.” Christine Porath

Respect is a feeling, but showing respect is a behavior.

10 things that make people feel disrespected:

  1. Looking at computer screens and cell phones during conversations.
  2. Outburst of anger.
  3. Cursing and slang.
  4. One sided conversations. Not listening.
  5. Wasting people’s time.
  6. Asking people to re-do work, even though clear instructions weren’t given up front.
  7. Not following up.
  8. Not showing up for meetings.
  9. Aggressiveness.
  10. Lies.

7 ways to show respect:

  1. Speak to aspirations.
  2. Talk more about strengths than weaknesses.
  3. Ask, “What do you think?”
  4. Take time to ponder suggestions.
  5. Focus on issues not personalities during disagreements.
  6. Say please and thank you.
  7. Feeling understood.

Feeling respected is an individual matter. You must know people in order to respect them. You might try asking, “What could I do that would show my respect for you?”

3 Qualities that enable leaders to show respect:

  1. Humility.
  2. Compassion.
  3. Trust.

What makes you feel disrespected? Respected?

How might leaders make teammates feel respected?


*The Price of Incivility, Harvard Business Review

The Leadership Behavior That’s Most Important to Employees, Harvard Business Review