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Five Ways Young Leaders Can Earn Their Team’s Respect

Stepping into a new position can be intimidating. Especially when that new position is in leadership, and you are young. You may feel you lack confidence and don’t know enough, and you may not be taken seriously by employees who are older than you. However, you earned this role for a reason, and there are ways you can still earn respect from employees and find success in your role. 

  1. Give Respect to Earn Respect

Showing that you respect your team is crucial to earning their respect in return. This means showing that you care about your employees’ health and wellbeing and understand that they are humans first. Everyone’s personal circumstances are different, and so being understanding when someone requires accommodations, and empathetic to everyone’s work style is key.

Additionally, do your homework and observe office dynamics and processes. While you may come in with a bunch of new ideas that you want to implement, it’s actually best to hold off. Listen to what’s working and learn those processes rather than changing them. For things that aren’t working, ask for recommendations and allow everyone to propose changes so all team members feel heard and remain on the same page.

  1. Be Personable and Professional 

While you’re not here to become best friends with your employees, you still want people to enjoy working with you. This means being firm but fair, and never lead in a way that causes people to become wary of approaching you should a problem arise. You also want to find the balance between humility, by not bragging or showing off, and still being confident in your ability to lead the team in the right direction.

You should also be able to show that you have a dedicated work ethic and are committed to the goals of the organization while still putting the needs of your employees first.

  1. Everyone Makes Mistakes 

It’s important to demonstrate your investment in the professional growth of your employees. One way to do this is by reacting in a constructive way towards mistakes. Viewing mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than reason for punishment will help employees grow and learn, and not feel defensive towards you. 

Also, you need to take ownership for your own mistakes. If a project goes awry because you gave unclear or bad instructions, or you messed up an important process, own up to it. Also, if a mistake is made by the team, take ownership rather than pinning the mistake on your team members.

  1. Open Communication and Feedback

Holding regular one-on-one meetings and providing ways for employees to give and receive feedback are important. When you do this, you are showing your employees that you are available to help them succeed, and everyone is held accountable. This also shows that you care about their professional development, and when you do this, people are more likely to accept guidance and feedback.

Remember to listen more than talk and learn from them and their experiences. Employees who have more experience at the company than you are often wonderful teachers and offer new perspectives that you may not have been aware of in the past. Accepting and implementing feedback from your employees goes a long way to showing that you are listening to them, and that you respect them.

  1. There is No “I” in Team 

The most effective teams are ones who work together.  Working together will help keep the team on track and will help them trust your leadership as they can see how you make decisions and that your decisions are informed.

Stay away from micromanaging your employees and give them reasonable autonomy when working on projects. They were hired for this role for a reason, trust them to do their job. This doesn’t mean don’t be involved, you still need to be aware of how a project in progressing, this means hold someone’s hand when they need it, but don’t overstay your welcome.

Also, remember that you only succeed, when the entire team succeeds, and don’t take credit for other people’s achievements. Plus, be sure to recognize successes and use them as a motivating factor moving forward.

Lauren Schwartz | Staff Writer

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