If you’ve recently made the transition from employee to manager, manager to owner, or corporate professional to founder/entrepreneur, congratulations! You are now officially more authoritative and respected in your industry.
While achieving this leadership role is something to be proud of, it’s important to know that bigger perks and responsibilities mean you need to conduct yourself in a certain manner — not just for your company and employees’ sake, but also for your own.
So, how do you gain respect in this new, pivotal role?
Throughout my handful of “becoming the boss” journeys, I have applied the same three rules of thumb, and they all revolve around respecting yourself and your position first. Once you have that down, respect from others will naturally follow.
Here is what worked wonders for me during the times I was responsible for sustaining a happy, productive, and respected business.
By being authentic
Throughout my roles of an upscale women’s boutique manager, office director for a talent agency and sales manager for a performing arts academy, I never tried to be someone I wasn’t. What I mean by that is I never adjusted my conversations, beliefs, or behaviors to suit a client, staff member, or anyone else. You’d be surprised how easy it is for others to recognize when someone isn’t being genuine.
I certainly exuded a more professional version of myself (which I believe everyone should do as they climb higher in the corporate ranks), but I was always me.
This one is so important because the expectations of a leader can often seem unattainable or make you feel like you need to be someone you’re not, all in the name of fitting into the mold of a manager. But don’t forget — you got to where you are now because someone recognized not only your hard work, but also your character, so don’t suddenly change it!
Being authentic, real and honest showed everyone in my store and offices that they could trust me. And that trust quickly lead to my team members wanting to perform better.
By dressing the part daily
There is a reason the “dress for success” mantra never dies. Looking the part for your role is empowering on so many levels.
First, it makes you feel like you can handle anything that comes your way. Second, it is directly linked to an increase in productivity, performance, and confidence. And lastly, dressing up is the easiest way to show your staff that you mean business, and that they need to follow suit.
Setting the example of dressing the part showed my team how looking professional (and fabulous) positively correlated with the way they felt and the quality of work they produced.
Dressing the part can mean different things for different people. Some women feel most powerful wearing heels, a blazer, and red lipstick. Others may feel more commanding in comfortable clothes and shoes that allow them to move around and more easily manage a large staff or space. Whatever your preference for clothes that make you feel fabulous in your own way, creating a uniform of sorts for yourself can help you transition your brain into boss-mode.
When you become a supervisor, it’s important to remember you’re not just setting the standard for yourself anymore. You’re setting the standard for your employees, your customers, and everyone else who walks through your door. You can still be authentic and true to yourself, but polishing up a bit does help some women feel more confident in their ability to lead.
By showing gratitude to team members
Being a good boss goes far beyond being the one in charge of the place. Being a great boss has so much to do with treating your employees with respect and kindness. Never let your employees feel like their job is less important than anyone else's.
I found that by starting and ending the workweek on an encouraging and fun note really aided in team collaboration and a willingness to come to work.
Every Monday I would come in with everyone’s favorite coffee orders and we would have a “free-for-all meeting,” meaning anyone could bring up anything that was going on in the office. Whether it was something they wanted to improve on, a problem they needed help with, or a success story they wanted to share, this was when we talked it through.
And every Friday after work I would treat my team to a round of cocktails at a nearby bar or restaurant. Ending the week on a light and positive note, no matter what problems arose during the week, really made my small team of women feel like we were in this together.
These three tidbits of advice are applicable to any industry and every position of authority. You will gain respect by respecting yourself and others. Be authentic, dress up, and let your team know you appreciate them. If you’re looking for more advice on being the best boss possible, check out InHerSight’s interview with HBO’s Bernadette Aulestia. Now go forth and lead!
By Ashley Alt
Ashley Alt is a creative writer specializing on topics all self-driven women can relate to. She is known for her fashion forward sense of style, obsession with healthy snacking and honest life advice. Her dream of living in NYC will become reality when her toddler goes to college. Her past work can be found at https://www.ashleyalt.com/.