The banking business requires that bankers and regulators have a high degree of respect for each other. Community bankers especially try to foster good regulatory relationships, and exam teams often find bank management eager to incorporate ideas, observations and improvements from exams. To help in this area, we note OCC research, as reported by the ABA, finds the top 5 Matters Requiring Attention (MRAs) in the prior year were: easing of underwriting standards (easing standards to achieve growth); loan portfolio composition (CRE concentrations, commodities exposures, new products); staffing concerns; credit culture (weak cultures ease underwriting, offer new products without proper controls, etc.) and data management and reporting (exceptions, tracking, origination, etc.).
Respect in banking comes directly from employees, so it is important that community banks know a lot about their staff and do a good job building trust and respect from within.
As the industry undergoes massive change, it is also critical to monitor and take action around attitude shifts that can occur very quickly. There are several indications that this is happening. You may be too busy to actually notice, but if your employees are ignoring you, it is a clear indication of disrespect. If this is the case, don't let this type of behavior languish. Addressing this issue not only affects the employees involved but sets the tone for others.
Of course, another clear sign of disrespect is when employees gossip too much and with a demeaning tone. Although informal chatter is common in the workplace, it should not cross the line of being too personal and/or too negative. If this is ever experienced, make sure to get HR involved immediately to stop it. Negative and disrespectful gossip creates an unproductive and non-collaborative work environment, and this is not good for any bank.
When you or another banker finds yourself in a situation of disrespect, there are some things to consider. Fast Company notes there is a balance needed in management skills to garner respect. No one wants to work for a "contemptible tyrant", but being "too nice" may result in employees walking all over you. Either way, you won't command respect. To fix this, think about your work style and how you approach your employees. You may want to bring this topic up in your next management meeting to raise general awareness.
Appearing more human is one way the research says you can gain respect. To do that, be a role model and a positive one. Also, no one is infallible, so admit it when you make a mistake. By admitting a mistake, you'll gain more credibility with employees. If you demand reliability and integrity from your employees, you should model those qualities as well.
A Harvard Business Review survey of 20,000 employees across the globe underscores the importance of two-way respect between managers and employees. This survey found that more than 50% of employees felt they didn't get respect from above. Overall, the study concluded that workers who felt they were liked by the boss were healthier, had greater job satisfaction, were more engaged, and were more likely to stay on the job. The survey also noted that respect varies from person to person, by culture, generation, and gender. So, make sure you are dialed into the disposition of your staff.
Building and getting respect may be an area you already command well. Yet, knowing things can change, we wanted to simply remind you of a few straightforward ways you can continue to gain respect from employees (and regulators) as you pass it along to everyone who engages with your bank.