For years, HRCentral has held the belief that your employees are your most valuable resource, and as such we strive to help you work with your employees to achieve the end result of mutually beneficial relationships. While we still hold true to this idea as it applies to many workplace situations, it is also true that our employees are so much more than a resource. Our employees are our partners.

In leadership roles, we are so often taught how to effectively manage employees. How to coach and mentor, how to train to ensure productivity, and how to effectively discipline when things go wrong. While these are in invaluable skills that every supervisor should have in their arsenal, there are times in which it pays to treat your employees as equals rather than subordinates, proving to them that you are just as willing to work for them as they are to serve you.

Elle was working overtime one week trying to finalize a new batch of operational manuals she had recently finished editing for her team. Her manager, Stephen, had offered to help her finish printing and binding the documents for an upcoming training, but Elle told him she had it covered. The night before the training, Elle was still at work at 8:00pm, when the printer decided to no longer cooperate. Stressing about her looming deadline, Elle reached out to Stephen who was in the office within 30 minutes. With the two of them working together to resolve the printing issue and teaming up to finish preparing the bound copies of the document, the job was done within an hour versus an extra three had Elle finished the project alone. Elle developed a new found respect for Stephen when he stepped up to assist her in any way he could, feeling that her work was valued, and that he appreciated and truly cared about her as an individual.

Earning the respect of your employees doesn’t take a lot. This can be accomplished by relatively minor actions, including: taking the time to truly listen to their concerns and suggestions; communicating with your employees on a regular basis and keep them well informed; and taking the time to work with them, proving that you are willing to get down in the trenches and work alongside them as equals.

Treating your employees as equals, as partners (when appropriate) can prove to be the difference in merely managing a group of individuals and managing an efficient, productive, and engaged team. Invest your time in your employees. When your employees feel that you truly respect them, that you value their work as well as their worth as individuals, the results can prove to be advantageous in countless ways.