Solution Saturday: How to Earn Respect
I need help! I am the new manager to a team of experienced professionals. How do I earn their respect?
Congratulations on being selected to manage a team of experienced professionals. It might help to remember that you were chosen for a reason.
The people over you believe in you and want you to succeed. Make a list of five reasons you earned this opportunity.
- What do others see in you?
- How can you bring those traits, attitudes, and behaviors to your new role?
Problems harm most when you forget who you are.
Turbulence makes self-knowledge most valuable. Apart from self-knowledge, you’ll be blown around by every wind.
Give what you need:
Managers who need respect know what others need. But a needy manager isn’t respect-worthy.
Shift from your needs to their needs. Every time you feel a need to be respected, give respect to others.
What do respectful people do? Do that for your team.
I suppose the above sentence adds to your stress. But it helps to turn your need into a trigger.
Open, not insecure:
There is an openness that is needy and insecure. This type of openness is pushed around by others.
Practice openness but make your own decisions.
Don’t make a big deal about your screw ups. Apologize, learn, adapt, and move forward.
Don’t work so hard:
Ask more questions. Give fewer answers.
The pressure to have the right answer unnecessarily stresses managers.
You have a team of experienced people. They know more than you in their area of experience. Honor their knowledge and experience.
When you feel pressure to give an answer, ask an experienced team member a question.
- What options come to your mind? (Explore more than one option.)
- What does your experience suggest we should do?
Warning about experience:
Experienced team members are experts at things that WON’T work. Listen to their concerns and say, “I see what won’t work. What might work?”
Expect experienced team members to contribute to solutions. Don’t allow anyone to cast stones from the sidelines.
Remember to generate multiple options before making decisions. (See “Don’t work so hard,” above.)
Build a learning culture:
At the end of meetings send people out to learn something. Ask them to report their learnings at the next meeting.
- Teach everyone to respect learning.
- Expect everyone to be a learner.
- Be a learner yourself.
Listen for hidden agendas:
Avoid being manipulated.
While listening, ask yourself, “What does this person really want?”
Where will you end up if you follow suggestions?
When something doesn’t feel right, ask team members:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- How does this move us forward?
- What else might you suggest?
If you want to earn respect…
- Relieve pressure. When you aren’t sure, say, “I’ll get back to you. I need to think about this.” (Be sure to follow-up.)
- Be calm, curious, and forward-facing. Keep moving toward organizational mission with kindness and resolve.
- Have tough conversations sooner rather than later.
- Say no without apology, but with kindness.
You have my best,
PS I respect your use of the term “earn.” It seems you aren’t feeling entitled.
What suggestion do you have for new managers who want to earn the respect of experienced team members?
5 Simple Ways to Gain Respect (Inc)
How to Earn Respect as a Leader (HBR)
5 Tips to Become a Respected Leader (Quickbase)
Note: I suspend my 300 word limit for Solution Saturday.
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Wow — so much great advice is packed into this post, even more than usual. Great job, Dan, and thank you!
Thanks Anon. Have a great weekend.
Perfect Dan! I may only add a team build project, something out of the office, neutral ground.
“Any man can learn anything he will, but no man can teach except to those who want to learn.” Henry Ford
“Always stay humble & kind.” Tim McGraw
All my best!
Thanks Melrose. Yes. Love the suggestion of getting offsite to build relationships and move the team forward.
Great question, timing, and suggestions on a personal level. While I’ve been with the organization for 20 years, and in my current role and department for 4 years, a team from another manager just shifted to my area of responsibility. Similarly, I feel like a new manager with a team of experienced professionals. If I were them I may expect that this new manager has sufficient experience to jump in and lead quickly/easily. However, it is a new subject matter that will take time for me to learn, and 6 new humans to understand. Earn their trust and respect is my number one goal, and your suggestions to ask more questions than answer, and not apologize when the inevitable oops happens, is just what I needed at this moment. Thank you!
As a new manager that went through this exact situation I’d add my own personal quick hits:
– Listen to what is said, as well as what is not said.
– Look for the poisonous relationships
– Every team has good conflict and bad conflict, understand each
– Ask questions to understand before you take any actions
– They are the SME’s, don’t overstep what you don’t know
– When you do see a major problem act quickly
– Being a friend is an added benefit, but not in the job description
– Not everything is a fire
– Finally and worth repeating, spend more time listening…