In today’s dynamic and hyper-connected workplace, creating a culture of dignity and respect is more important than ever. And instilling these shared values starts at the top.
Think about this for a minute: Is your manager the type of leader who makes you feel valued and respected?
Do their words and actions inspire you to bring your best self to work?
In this article, we’ll talk about the many ways leaders can demonstrate respect in the workplace.
If your manager does most — if not all — of these things, they’re worthy of your trust.
1) They actively listen
When you reach out to your manager for any concerns, do they give you their full, undivided attention? Or do they always put you on hold?
Do they show genuine interest in your perspectives? Or do they seem distracted — always reading emails or doing something else when you’re talking with them?
A manager who respects you will put in all the effort to show you that your voice matters. They will….
- Take the time to understand your ideas and concerns
- Validate your experiences
- Pay attention to all the verbal and non-verbal cues
- Ask relevant questions
They won’t always agree with your views, but they’ll make sure that you’ll feel heard and understood.
2) They foster open and honest communication
The best leaders I’ve known are those who facilitate open, direct, sincere, and compassionate dialogue.
When your manager respects you, they will maintain clear and consistent communication with you. This means ….
- Scheduling regular check-ins with you
- Offering constructive feedback and positive reinforcement
- Keeping you in the loop about significant changes and workplace dynamics
They’ll let you know that they’re approachable, and they’ll fully engage you in conversations.
And the best part? You’ll feel safe to share your thoughts and feelings with them.
This leads me to my next point….
3) They seek your input
The sad reality is, many managers tend to dictate what will be done, when it will be done, and how it will be done. It gets worse when a leader has a “my way or the highway” mindset.
An effective manager will be willing to brainstorm with you. They’ll create a collaborative environment where everyone is motivated to contribute.
They won’t just assign you a big goal and then expect you to meet their expectations.
They will give you countless opportunities to participate in decision-making processes — from setting deadlines to figuring out creative ways to reach goals, coming up with solutions to work issues, and improving work processes.
4) They mentor you
Recent studies have shown that employees will choose to stay at a company longer if it invested in learning and development opportunities.
Simply put, employees want to grow their knowledge and skills. They’ll appreciate and respect managers who won’t just tell them to step up but also lead by example.
What can be more admirable than a manager who spends time coaching you and working side-by-side with you?
If your manager respects you, they will take note of your strengths and weaknesses and harness your potential.
They will show you how to fulfill your responsibilities and how you can contribute to the organization’s purpose, mission, and vision.
5) They give you the independence to perform your work
For many employees, there’s nothing more limiting than a micromanager.
When your manager trusts you to complete critical tasks and do your work your way, that’s a big sign of respect.
They delegate responsibilities and give you the freedom to manage your time and make decisions. In other words, they let you take ownership of your work.
It’s another way to make you feel that you’re smart, capable, and talented.
6) They advocate for your needs and support your growth
Do you consider your manager as an ally and advocate for employees?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, advocacy is about “knowing your people well enough to make sure they are represented accurately and fairly within the company.”
Let’s dig a little deeper.
You see, it’s good to have a manager who listens to your needs.
But if you can trust your manager to support your dreams and goals and create opportunities for you to advance in your career, that’s someone who genuinely cares for you and respects you.
They’ll show you the promotions that you can aspire to within your field or organization — and provide you with the resources to get there.
7) They appreciate you and recognize your achievements
You’d be surprised by how a simple “thank you” from your manager can significantly boost your morale, engagement, and productivity.
A manager who respects you values your hard work. They’ll notice all the small and big things you do to excel in your work, and they won’t take them for granted.
They’ll give you credit for a job well done, and they’ll even celebrate your achievements and successes.
8) They help you achieve work-life balance
There’s no denying that flexibility is the future of work. To thrive in a modern workplace, employees need managers who have their best interests at heart.
Here’s the deal: Whether it’s an in-person, remote, or hybrid working setup, every employee will have unique needs, preferences, and challenges.
A good manager never forgets that colleagues are people first, and employees second. They know that a little kindness and empathy go a long way.
They make an effort to have a deeper understanding of the different aspects of your life, and how these affect your well-being and work habits.
For example, your manager may help you with flexible working options so that you can stay on top of your responsibilities at home while also staying productive and successful in your role.
9) They set healthy boundaries at work
If your manager respects you, they’ll know that healthy boundaries are crucial for your physical, mental, and emotional health.
They don’t expect you to simply do what they want, all the time. They keep things friendly, but they’re always professional.
This means they ….
- Clarify expectations from the start. They won’t call you, send emails, or make requests when you’ve already logged off or you’re on leave.
- Respect your “no.” They will understand when you can’t take on more work, especially when your work-life balance is suffering.
- Draw the line on behavior. They won’t tolerate any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination. They will be the first to call out bad behavior.
10) They take accountability for mistakes
When something goes wrong, does your manager immediately blame you instead of owning up to their missteps?
If so, then that’s a big sign that they disrespect you.
We all make mistakes at work, but one of the worst things a leader can do is throw an employee under the bus for their own shortcomings.
A manager who respects you will always be honest with you about what happened. They will apologize for their mistakes and work with you to find solutions.
And it doesn’t stop there: They won’t lash out at you if you commit mistakes. They’ll remain respectful and provide constructive criticism.
11) They treat everyone fairly
This goes back to our earlier point about how employees have different needs, personalities, work styles, motivations, goals, and performance levels.
A good manager is someone who leads with fairness, which means they honor each employee for who they are.
They treat everyone in the workplace with the same courtesy and kindness. They do not marginalize or leave out any one person or group.
They create opportunities for all employees to showcase their skills and knowledge and make them feel that they’re part of the bigger picture.
They give everyone a chance to be heard.