Morale is powerful. Morale can get your team to go the extra mile. To provide service that your customers rave about. To recommend your company to top prospective employees.
It can also lead your employees to sneak out the back stairwell fifteen minutes early every day. To provide customer service that leads customers to look elsewhere. To steer their talented friends away from your company and instead solicit them for job leads to getaway from you.
One key to morale is having the respect of your employees. Here’s ten important things to build your employee’s respect for you:
1. Give Credit. When your employees bring you ideas, always give them credit. They believe their ideas are important. They also believe that their ideas are tied to their career advancement. If you take credit, then in their mind you are stealing from them and robbing their careers. You’ll be branded untrustworthy in an instant.
2. Reward hard work. This should be a corollary to item #1. People feel what they do is valuable. Prove to them that it is, and they’ll keep giving you more of it.
3. Keep your promises. If you don’t exhibit integrity, don’t expect your employees to do so. This is especially true when it comes to pay, benefits and advancement. Remember, we all come to work ultimately to gain something for ourselves. Take that away and you take away their reason to keep coming.
4. Respect time off. Days off from work are about our personal lives. What we need in our personal lives are what keeps us coming back to work. Don’t disrupt vacation days, weekends, and holidays unless you absolutely must. If you have to, be frank and open about the business reason you have to do it, and be equally frank and open about exactly what you, and in turn the company, is going to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again (then see #3).
5. Don’t push unreasonable deadlines. Your employees know how long it takes to do their jobs. That means that they know a deadline is unreasonable the minute it comes out of your mouth. They know you’re asking them to work long hours from now until that deadline comes. And they have from now until then to fume about it as well.
6. Don’t Micromanage. It’s vital to keep up with your project schedule and deadlines. It’s not vital to know what percentage complete your team members are at on day two of a two month project. It’s also not vital to know what they’re doing from minute to minute. If you watch over their shoulders, they believe that you do not trust them. That means they won’t trust you. Take a deep breath and keep your eye on the goals.
7. Stand back and let them work. Either your employees know their jobs well, you did a lousy job providing them with the training they need, or you did a lousy job hiring. Do you trust yourself or not? If you’re watching them and interfering with how they do things constantly, then guess what the answer is. Guess what else? They don’t trust you either.
8. No favorites. Your team is your team. It may have stars, but it doesn’t have favorites. If coaches only played players they liked personally, can you imagine what professional sports would be like? Treat your employees equally.
9. Keep work about work. This is a corollary to #8. Keep your personal life out of the workplace at a reasonable level, and allow your employees to do the same. Also, don’t ask your employees to run personal errands for you. You wouldn’t pick up their dry cleaning, why should they get yours?
10. Never discuss one employee with another. People’s problems are personal. That includes problems that they’re having with their jobs. Don’t air their dirty laundry.