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Win Over Your Employees

If all you want is a little respect, read on.

Considering you make more money than they do, you can fire them if you see fit, and you generally enjoy more perks than they do, it can be hard for your employees to come up with a reason to like you. So how can you win them over? Give them a reason to hold you in high esteem. We asked some employees what their bosses did to earn their respect.

Brooke Coe, marketing director for Be Jane, a Los Angeles-based home improvement website for women, remembers giving what seemed like a failed pitch to a tool company last year. Her bosses Heidi Baker, 37, and Eden Jarrin, 30, stepped in to save the day. "Heidi and Eden really convinced them and turned them around," Coe says. A week later, Coe closed the deal.

Aubrey Cichelli went to work as a senior communications executive for the Intrepid Group, a PR agency in Salt Lake City, specifically because of the owners' reputations. Co-owners Mike Grass, 35, and Chris Thomas, 34, did pro bono work representing Elizabeth Smart's family during her kidnapping ordeal. "I feel they have the right attitude about public relations," Cichelli says.

An in-house employee literacy program at American Reading Co. in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, earned the respect of Alison Nathan, the company's director of academic credibility. American Reading Co. was founded by Jane Hileman, 56, and runs a reading program for students nationwide to promote language skills and literacy. Hileman extended this learning initiative to her staff, partnering non-native English speakers with other workers. "It's amazing," says Nathan. "Everybody loves to partake in it."

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This article was originally published in the February 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Finding Favor .

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