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How to Earn Employees' Respect

Tips for managing employees when you take over the family business
June 2, 2003

Q: I recently took over the family business from my father. What do I need to do to earn the respect of employees who've been with the company for years--employees who used to be my co-workers in the company?

A: The simple and most powerful answer is to establish your own credibility. You already have "position" power because you've been appointed to a high-level position in the organizational hierarchy, thanks to your father. However, that will only get you as far as your first challenging interaction with former peers. At that point, you succeed or fail on your own.

Here's why you might fail or why your former peers may not support you:

So what can you do about it? I often suggest several ways to build your own credibility and power base: