The Mysterious Case of Disappearing Respect

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A colleague of mine, Kelly (Allen) Vandever, Leadership & Communications Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Host of the Leadership Podcast Permission to Speak recently posted an excellent article. Rather than regurgitating the article, you can read it in full here “Respect” In a nutshell, the article is about a manager lamenting the fact that her direct reports do not turn projects in on time or at all. She asked a colleague to step in and the colleague advised her that she has lost the respect of her direct reports. Well if they haven’t, they certainly will now by asking a colleague to step in and do her job. Did the respect mysteriously disappear or did she ever have it? The article is well-written and makes some important points about the mysteries of management.

  • Inform your reports about the “why” of a project. Check! This helps them to take the mystery out of the big picture and to see how important their position is to the larger goals of the organization.
  • Make it OK to Push Back. Check! Creating an environment that allows for back and forth commentary and analysis is healthy and productive. Nothing mysterious here.
  • Be Respectful of Your Employees. Duh! Err I mean Check! It’s no secret that basic, human respect is Management 101.

In the article, Kelly goes on to make some other important points.

What else could the manager do to ensure that she gets the job done through her people, and not “mysteriously” lose respect in the process?

  • Know Your Team. Your team members should not be an enigma. Understanding each team member’s work, behavioral, and communication styles is essential. Know their talents, skills, and attributes. This will help the manager to assign projects or parts of projects to the right team members. This can prevent many headaches right from the start.
  • Work Loads. This is definitely not a place for mystery to fester. Ensure that you know your employee’s current projects before assigning another. Use a project software program, like Base Camp or even an Excel sheet. This can also be shared with the team so everyone knows where everyone else is on a project. This is especially helpful if the members of the same or different teams are working on a project.
  • Check in Points and Due Dates. Incorporating this process lets the manager know right away where and when bottle necks, challenges, and difficulties occur. These can be addressed in real time and adjustments made. Anytime a manager has a Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! This project is not ready or hasn’t been completed event, right before or at the due date, you can bet this step has not been implemented. Such surprises, and drama can easily be avoided.
  • Hold People Accountable. Accountability seems to be such a conundrum for many managers. When team members offer excuses ask powerful questions such as

-          What could have been done differently?”

-          What can you do to change the way you think about _____?

-          What do you want?

The team can hold itself accountable by asking these same questions of one another – mystery solved!

Yes, it would be lovely if teams completed assignments because you’re the boss and you asked them to do it, but human nature can be unpredictable and bewildering. However, implementing processes and basic management tools can make human nature a little more predictable and a lot less mysterious.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you would like to discuss the level of respect in your team, call 404-320-7834, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit

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