Respect is an attribute that helps build relations in one’s personal life and in the workplace. The utilization and application of respect is necessary for supervisors and managers to effectively lead their subordinates. Leadership and respect are intertwined since mutual respect between subordinates and power figures enhances the way each interact with each other. An employee can respect the position of the manager, but to truly respect the person the manager must earn that trust and respect from the employee. Leadership is one of the most important functions that managers must apply in the workplace since managers are responsible for the work performance of the workers. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and analyze the relation between respect and leadership.

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Earning respect from employees takes time, but it is not an impossible nor daunting task. Leaders can gain respect from the employees through example. For instance, in most workplaces being punctual is mandatory and imperative to keep a job. If punctuality is required from workers, the managers should also apply that rule and come to work on time or before the workers come in to show they apply the rules to themselves. Leaders that work hard, are active, and show commitment to their job are leading through example which helps gain respect. Being a good communicator can also enhance leadership and bonds of trust with the workers. A good boss cares about the well-being of workers and always keeps the lines of communication open. Managers that do not interact with the workers are not able to build close relations with the employees. Employees respect more leaders that are active listeners and are willing to evaluate feedback given to them. Floor employees often have great ideas on how to make process improvements, but many managers disregard this valuable resource instead of taking advantage of it. Getting the employees involved demonstrates good leadership and can help build respect.

Good leaders recognize the importance of providing a good work environment for the employees which can be enhance by developing a corporate culture that values respect and compliance with strong ethical standards. Leaders that get involved in unethical business actions such as environmental violations or doing business with suppliers that use child labor lose the respect of major stakeholder groups including the employees. A manager with strong leadership implies having cero tolerance for discrimination in the workplace. Employees respect leaders that value diversity and teamwork. Teamwork has become a critical success factor in the 21st century. Valuing the efforts of the employees and rewarding workers that show potential and high performance is a sign of leadership. A leader will gain greater respect from the staff by promoting from within a worker that has shown everyone he deserves it.

According to Llopis (2013) five ways leaders can earn respect from their employees are:

  • Demonstrate strong work ethic and set the standard
  • Do not be afraid of taking risk and admit when wrong
  • Sponsor and encourage employee development
  • Have a powerful executive presence
  • Support employees and deflect recognition

A respected leader is proactive, works hard, and demonstrates to everyone through his actions his commitment to the company. He makes operational and strategic decisions to improve the company both in the short and long term despite the existence of business risk. Whenever he makes a mistake he admits his error instead of blaming someone else and takes corrective actions. He cares about the professional development of employees and encourages training and educational opportunities. The leader identifies employees with potential and nurtures their growth. Demonstrating a powerful executive presence helps get the respect of everyone. It is better to support the employees whenever they make a mistake and help them learn from them than to penalize them. A well-respected leader can motivate the employees to achieve a higher level of production.

  • Llopis, G. “5 Ways Leaders Earn Respect from Their Employees.” Forbes, 22 July 2013,