How to get more respect by changing bad management habits.

By Rhonda R. Savage, DDS

If you are an owner or a manager, there’s a good chance you have several pet peeves regarding your staff members and their behavior. What you may not realize is that your employees probably have a few complaints themselves.

It’s true that oftentimes these complaints can be unreasonable and you need to accept the fact that you can’t always make everyone happy, but it’s important to know what you can improve on as a leader. When your staff members respect you and the way you manage the team, it improves morale. When morale goes up, productivity goes up.

How can you improve your management style to prevent your employees from agreeing with these frustrations?

1 You come to work grumpy. Each day depends on your attitude when you walk through the door. If you are rude or give off a negative attitude the moment your staff see you in the morning, it may affect their moods and result in low productivity or bad customer service. Make a mental choice the moment you wake up every morning to be a positive influence on your staff members.

At the morning team meeting, assign someone to bring in inspirational thought or a humorous incident or joke to start off the day on a positive note. Do not complain about the day before or dwell on the traffic you dealt with during your commute.

2 You micromanage the staff. Excessive attention to detail can hold back the growth and development of your business and your team members. Employees who are micromanaged feel frustrated, lose confidence, and become timid and discouraged. Attention to detail is a positive trait of any manager, but if you’re correcting every little detail or doing everything yourself, you’re hurting your performance and that of the team.

As an owner or a manager, you need to delegate, follow up without micromanaging and hold people accountable. Create a system in which your employees can keep you updated on the projects they’ve been assigned. This way, they don’t feel you are micromanaging or taking over, but you are able to keep updated on their progress.

3 You are too “hands off” and don’t hold employees accountable. While micromanaging may not be a sound management strategy, it’s also possible to be too “hands off” with your staff members. Good leaders coach and mentor but don’t micromanage or let things float along. You know the strengths and weaknesses of your people.

The days of dictatorial leadership are gone. Most employees today thrive on independence, growth and involvement. And yet they also thrive on feedback; accountability; and firm, fair leadership. Finding a balance is crucial for the success of your business.

4 You complain about the bad economy and lack of cash flow. This is a difficult time in the economy. Your employees care about you and the company, but if you burden them with your woes, the morale will go down. Don’t share everything. They don’t need to know it all. Focus on being positive, cheerful and supportive.

Some people may argue that your staff needs to know the facts.  Yes, but do not harangue them daily that their jobs are in jeopardy. Let them know what the goals are and how important each and every one of them is to the success of the business. Before you feel a need to lay off staff members, ask yourself these questions:

• Can you train and encourage them to do more and be more in your market?
• How is your customer service?
• Should you work on your business before resorting to drastic measures?

5 You bring your personal life to work. We all have personal lives outside of our work. It can sometimes be difficult to separate the two, especially as an owner or a manager. But regardless of what is happening in your personal life, it’s important to keep that separate from your professional life.

Anything from talking to your employees about personal problems to having family and friends stop by the shop excessively can hugely affect the way your employees view you as a leader. If you overheard your employee talking about her date last night rather than focusing on work, you probably wouldn’t be thrilled. It’s important to set a good example for the staff by setting the standard of behavior.

6 You don’t deal with problematic employees. If you don’t deal with problematic staff, one (or both) of two things will happen.

a. The others will begin acting like them
b. You’ll lose the respect of the staff

You cannot ignore a problem. The problem will build, and you will lose the respect of the rest of your staff if you don’t take necessary steps to resolve the issue. Deal with issues early on before they get out of control.

Staying involved in the day-to-day tasks of your staff members will help you stay on top of any problems or potential problems. Make sure you are visible to employees by walking around the office and visiting a little with each one. Check in with key people to find out if there are any issues you need to resolve.

7 You are always out of the shop. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you have to be out of work for personal reasons. But if your absences inconvenience your staff or customers, you will lose everyone’s respect.

It’s important that employees are able to count on you for assistance, guidance and support. If you need to be away from the business a lot for personal reasons, try to schedule these appointments or meetings on the same day each week.

8 You overreact when employees approach you with concerns or problems. You can be a good leader 90 percent of the time, but if you lose it the other 10 percent, that’s what your staff will remember. Overreacting in any way to an employee bringing an issue to your attention is a bad idea. It’s important for everyone to know they can come to you with problems and keep you updated on the business. You don’t want to make them feel guilty for doing this; rather you want to encourage this behavior. Your team sometimes knows things about your business that you may not be aware of. You need to know what they know, and overreacting to anything they tell you will only discourage them from keeping you informed.

Dr. Rhonda Savage is an internationally acclaimed speaker and CEO of Miles Global, a well-known dental practice management and consulting business. She is a noted motivational speaker on leadership, women's issues and communication.   For more information on her speaking, visit or email

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