What I found in my business life is that we only need three things to make our employees respect and collaborate with us.
1 — Work hard and be a role model.
If you want them to work hard as you, you must work hard. That’s obvious.
Be the first to arrive and the last to leave. If you don’t work in the store, if your office is elsewhere, show them you work hard. Occasionally, call them when the store opens and before the store closes. Make them see you are always there.
Show them you are not afraid of any task.
For example, when you find trash on the floor, ask one of your employees to sweep. But when your employees are occupied (with clients) get a broom and sweep the floor. Make sure they watch you doing the job.
2 — Show the purpose of each task and talk about the company’s goals
What I found in retail is that sometimes the employees start to be less respectable because they think you made them do certain tasks just to upset them.
For example, if you ask them to fold all the shirts in the store, they could think you are doing that just as a punishment. But if you tell the employee, he’s doing it just to pretend the store has a lot of work (and that make the customers want to get in), then he’ll see there’s a good reason for doing that task
3 — Be firm, say what you have to say, but with respect
If you work hard yourself, if you are a role model and if show every task’s purpose, then you can be, and should be, firm. You have earned you employees respect.
If you are not firm, they’ll think you are weak. And they will not respect you.
But of course, you should be respectful.
I’m a pretty calm guy. There was only one time when I was not respectful to an employee. We were discussing and I told the seller “Shut up. I’m the boss here. You shut up and do what I say.”
She did shut up. But when I was alone, I thought that was not the right thing to do. She was not unrespectful to me. She was just trying to explain her point of view. I should have argued why her point of view was not correct for me.
I called her, and I said I was sorry for what I had said. At that point, she said: “That’s OK. Your the boss. You have the right to say whatever you want.” But I said: “No, I have not. Because I’m the boss I have more duties that rights”.
From that moment our relation went better. I think she respected more from that moment on.
If you fail, don’t be afraid to say sorry. Try no to fail many times, thought.