Happy February! Is “walking the walk” a tired old cliche or a bold new concept? Very few managers today are receiving formal management training. As a result, many are poor communicators and weak in their delegation and leadership skills.

According to a Gallup poll, 25% of U.S. employees would fire their bosses if they could. Why? Because many manager set high service standards for their employees, yet fail to abide by those same standards.

If you are a manager, you are in an excellent position to lead by example. Your employees will only respect your authority if they observe your excellent customer service skills on a daily basis. Customer loyalty must be a top-down initiative.

Here are five ways you can earn greater respect and increase employee loyalty:

1. Always give performance reviews and salary increases on the promised dates. Employees have those dates memorized. They won’t feel valued and will resent you if their review dates are postponed or forgotten.

2. Have empathy for your employees. Show compassion by being flexible with hours and time off so they can tend to family emergencies. or illnesses.

3. Be a mentor and coach by sharing your knowledge and experience. Explain to them how business decisions were made, especially when it involves them.

4. Trust your employees and be willing to delegate projects based on their strengths. If you tend to be a control freak, learn to let go and get out of the habit of mico-managing people.

5. Let your employees know they’re valued. Smile at them, be approachable, remember the names of their family members and sincerely thank them every chance you get.

The only times that employees can successfully challenge your authority is when they see that you are not practicing what you preach.

Keep in mind that your employees are your primary customers. Treat them with the same respect and caring service that you deliver to your external customers. Remember that you set the tone for your entire department. Your employees are watching you! This month, we started an “appreciate your colleague” exercise. It has been a way for all of us in the office to recognize each other. We hope you had a wonderful February and please let us know how we can help you in the upcoming months!