(Originally posted on Terri Klass Consulting)
By Terri Klass
Managers are frequently asking me how to gain the respect of their teams and bosses. They feel that they have great insights to share but are having a challenging time being recognized. They will inquire:
“Why can’t I get my boss to respect my decisions?”
“My team seems to disregard my deadlines and that makes me feel a lack of respect.”
“I make powerful contributions to my company. Why don’t I get shout-outs?”
I’m sure you could add your own concerns about not feeling the respect you so deserve.
One of my clients who I recently coached was having a difficult time finding her voice on her team. She felt her teammates were often talking over her comments and not taking her suggestions seriously. She offered an alternative way to deal with their overseas colleagues and was ignored. She felt that there was little respect for her leadership. After working together we came up with seven ways to accelerate her presence and respect.
1. Know What Respect Means To You
This might seem strange to think about, but respect comes in all shapes and sizes. Ask yourself what respect would look like to you. The woman I was coaching visualized respect as her teammates being open to her ideas. I once volunteered with someone who only wanted her agenda to be used and if that didn’t happen, she felt disrespected.
2. Be A Strategic Listener
It may seem simple enough to say we listen to others, but are we really listening with the intent to understand?
- Are we listening without interrupting?
- Are we working on something else when people are trying to share their ideas?
- Are we asking powerful questions that assures the speaker we are focused on what they are saying?
- Are we fully present in the conversation?
3. Share Your Thoughts and Suggestions Clearly
One of the challenges the coachee had was being able to state her ideas with clarity and fervor. She was soft spoken which oftentimes confused her team with not having something valuable to add. Quite the opposite was true so we worked on ways to project more confidently in a louder tone. We also viewed different ways to make her agenda clear with exact word choices and organization.
4. Promote Others’ Ideas
If we want people to champion our suggestions, we need to promote theirs too. Many leaders forget that when others support us in what we have to share, we are more likely to be cheerleaders for their causes as well. Here’s what the coachee decided to do:
- Offer positive feedback on what teammates or colleagues are presenting.
- Piggy-back on ideas of others while making additions.
- Be an ambassador for the team accomplishments as this will show others how much your team means to you.
5. Be Open-Minded
Not everyone will always agree with our ideas and we will not always embrace what everyone else suggests. Having said that, keep an open mind so that you can stretch your thinking and help develop a stronger outcome to any project. When we empower ourselves to consider different perspectives, we get the innovative juices flowing.
6. Give A Little Extra
Step up when you think something additional is needed to make things happen. Does your team need your creativity in developing that deck? Does a colleague need you to run interference with another co-worker to help them work together more successfully? Can you take that phone call in the middle of the night because your global team needs to discuss some critical issues?
7. Support The Team’s Choice
The ultimate way to gain respect is to show your team you will go with the team’s decision, even though you may need to give up part of your input. This is difficult when we are feeling left out. The coachee recognized that as long as her ideas were considered, the final outcome was the team’s choice and one that she would always support.
How do you grow leadership respect? What strategies have worked for you?