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How to Gain Respect As a New Supervisor

by Chris Miksen, studioD

Job titles might keep things organized and tell employees who they answer to, but a title doesn't garner respect. Actions do. When employees respect their supervisor, they're more willing to listen to the supervisor's advice, follow directives, better themselves and ultimately perform at a higher level. Without your employees' respect, you'll find that you have little control over your team's results, and that hurts not only the company, but potentially your future with the company.


Assume your employees understand how to do their jobs, and don't micromanage. Unless you were promoted from within and you have an already established relationship with your employees, you likely don't know how they perform their jobs. While some may perform poorly and need help, that doesn't warrant you looking over everyone's shoulder. Give your employees freedom to complete the tasks they're assigned and the opportunity to succeed without your intervention at every step. Beyond limiting the respect employees have for you, the National Federation of Independent Business advises that micromanaging negatively affects employee performance and stymies employee growth.

Take an Interest

Shed the cliched supervisor attitude and blend in with your employees. TV shows, movies and books often portray supervisors as withdrawn individuals who sit in an office all day and don't care about employees. Take that approach and you'll never gain the respect you want and need. Walk the floor and talk with your employees. Ask them about their days or if they need anything. Take a real interest in them personally. Show that you're not just their boss, but someone who they can think of as a friend. Tell them that your door is always open if concerns arise or they would like to chat with you about something.

Acknowledge and Help

Rewarding good performance keeps spirits high and earns your employees' respect for acknowledging that they're performing at a high level. A simple pat on the back, or telling an employee you appreciate his work ethic and the results he produces sends a message that his hard work is valued and doesn't go unnoticed. For struggling employees, identify their struggles and help them. Avoid unhelpful criticism. Instead of harping about their production, offer them tips on how to improve.

Do As I Do

Your employees are more likely to respect you if your behavior mimics the behavior you want your employees to embody. Start from the first day you walk through the door. Don't stand in the back, issuing orders and surveying the scene. Get your hands dirty sometimes, take a positive approach to everything you do, don't complain about the workplace or company changes, and put forth the effort you expect from your team. Suppose you're a retail supervisor. Your store's moving a large amount of stock from one end of the store to the other. Instead of telling your employees to move the stock, get in there and help them.

About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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