Does your staff respect you?


7 reasons why you may not be getting the respect you deserve.

By Inder Sharma

It’s very easy to think that management is not really a skill… until the first time that you try to do it. That’s when you realize how much time and energy good management requires. Couple that with the fact that you’re almost certainly being asked to manage others at the same time that you continue with your other responsibilities and that you probably received about eight minutes of management training. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

There are a many reasons you might not be getting the respect from your employees that you think you deserve. Sure, it’s possible you are a truly contemptible tyrant. But, on the off chance that you aren’t, here are seven other reasons you might want to consider.

 YOU ARE TOO NICE.  If this describes you, then you will do anything you can to avoid anything that even remotely resembles confrontation. When you try to talk with an employee about something you want them to change, you end the conversation by telling them their behavior really isn’t that big of a deal and that you’re sorry for bringing it up in the first place. If you are always nice and forgiving, they will learn they don’t have to worry about anything that bothers you. Except it does bother you, doesn’t it?

If you’re too nice to say anything, you’ll just quietly seethe until you rupture a blood vessel that everyone will chalk up to your bad diet. Bottom line: If you never get angry or disappointed or frustrated, it’s possible you’ll never get the respect you’re looking for.

 YOU ARE NEVER SATISFIED.  The occasional reprimand is a normal part of interaction with every single person we spend any significant amount of time with. The constant railing of an impossible-to-please demon lord, on the other hand, is a bit excessive. Sure, people might do what you want them to just to avoid getting yelled at, but they won’t be happy about it.

If your problem is that your employees are productive but not enthusiastic about being so, then you might be reprimanding more often than is healthy. Try saving your hour-long tirades for your home improvement projects instead.

 YOU HAVE NO ACTUAL DEADLINES.  Some jobs need to get done today. Some need to get done by the end of the week. And some just need to get done, you know, whenever you can get around to it, if it’s not too much trouble. The truth is that a lot of our deadlines are arbitrary. Does your website have to be redesigned by the end of the month? Probably not, but if you don’t impose some urgency from time to time, then no one will worry too much about getting anything accomplished.

If you’re not sure how to do this, go on a road trip with children. They don’t really have to go to the bathroom, but they sure do a good job of getting you to do what they want.

 YOU DON’T THINK YOU DESERVE TO BE A LEADER.  One of my favorite things to say is that I believe all of us, at our core, worry a little that someday the world will realize we are a complete fraud. I remember the first time someone called me a “man,” instead of a “boy” or “teenager,” and it didn’t sound like a word that should be applied to me. And the same thing occasionally happens when we’re placed in a position of leadership.

It’s very common to wonder if you deserve the authority you’ve been granted, but you’d better start telling yourself you actually earned it. If you don’t think you should be the boss, nobody else will either.

 YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND ALL THE TIME.  Many managers – especially overly nice ones who don’t think they deserve to tell anyone else what to do – find themselves asking for certain things and then changing the requirements when they see their employees struggling. The impulse here is very noble, but the outcome isn’t. Employees need to be pushed, at least a little.

A good manager is like a good personal trainer – someone who forces you past the point you thought you could get to on your own. If you continually change the goals your people are trying to achieve, it is going to be hard for them to pay a lot of attention to whatever you tell them to do next, since it’ll probably change next week anyway.

 YOU’RE AFRAID TO ADMIT MISTAKES. I know you’ve occasionally tried to put your pants on backwards, and I know you’ve walked into glass doors before. But if you pretend that you’ve never done anything wrong and then find ways to excuse your failures or blame them on others, you’ll lose the respect of everyone. Failure is only failure when you don’t learn anything from it, and you can’t learn anything when you pretend that you never actually failed.

 YOU THINK YOU KNOW MORE THAN YOU DO. This is the reason that the human race will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again until we finally figure out how to merge with computers. If you are not in the habit of learning all the time, and if you are also in the habit of assuming that there’s not much left for you to learn, then your employees are almost certainly in the habit of thinking you’re full of yourself and therefore unworthy of their admiration. The best leaders are smart enough to know more than their peers, humble enough to know they have more to learn, and invested enough in their employees to teach their employees how to improve.         ■

Inder Sharma is CEO and founder of, an AAHOA Founding Member, and has founded over 13 companies including


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