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I mentioned in an earlier post that as an employer, you need to respect the people who work for you. But it's just as important, if not more so, that they respect you.

There are two ways to get respect. You can demand it simply by virtue of the fact that you are the boss and if people expect to keep their jobs, they had better show you respect. But demanding respect is not the best way to go. It often creates feelings of resentment. It also creates a very bad vibe in your shop in which your employees may show a respect for you while you are in their presence that they don't really feel. They are likely to have a whole different attitude when you are not around.

The other way is to be a person who commands respect. What this means is that your employees respect you because you treat them fairly but, at the same time, maintain a firm grip on your authority. An employer who commands respect will never complain to his employees about problematic clients or about the difficulties of running the business. He will never criticize one employee in front of another or show favoritism. He will be the first one to work and the last one to leave. He will not react in anger to or blame his employees for the problems he, as the owner, is responsible for. He will be willing to tell an employee if there is a problem without challenging that employees own self respect.

Commanding respect is much better than demanding it. But it really requires that the employer have as much respect for himself as he expects from his employees. It's a balancing act and many employers simply do not want to bother with the subtleties. So they default to demanding respect and end up with one of those working environments in which everyone is unhappy and, instead of getting the work done, spend most of their workday complaining about the boss behind his back.


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