13/01/2013 17:59 GMT | Updated 15/03/2013 05:12 GMT

Your Team Don't Care How Qualified You Are

Let's face it. Your team are not interested in how many degrees you have; how many top companies you have worked for; who you had dinner with, or how many presidents you know on a first name basis. They are interested in how you make them feel. If you treat your colleagues well, they will treat you well. Treat them like imbeciles, and they will view you as an overqualified control freak, whose sole purpose in life is to make their life a misery.

Qualifications and commendations are a part of a business owner's credibility. Character, substance and the ability to motivate your team to achieve your goals are a bigger part. People respect accolades, and it is worthwhile to pursue them. However, your character communicates what your qualifications and accolades can't. Effective communication is the key to the longevity of every company. Your team needs to respect "you", as well as respect what you have done. They need a reason to want to get good results that goes way beyond their wages.

The unfortunate thing is, many managers overlook this. They study for years on end, work tirelessly to climb the corporate ranks, and then they undo all of their years of hard graft by being rude to their colleagues, and overexerting their authority. A good manager will not need to remind their team of who they are, because they will be comfortable enough within themselves. Everything in life is about experiences. One of the biggest ways to retain good people is to make them feel valued, and that their views are being listened to. Sure, you may not always implement suggested changes, but acknowledging their viewpoint will go a long way.

I have worked with a number of different companies, and have interacted with middle managers who have struggled to get their teams to do what they wanted. Why? They were too authoritarian. They dictated instructions rather than coached people and allocated tasks and responsibilities - there is a big difference.

One way to motivate individuals is to ensure that they are clear on what is required from them from the outset. Once team members have clear, concise guidelines, it makes it easier for them to follow. Manners count for a lot. It's not something they teach at University, but "please" "thank you" and "well done" are words that every manager should use on a regular basis. If you are bellowing at someone in a meeting, they are not thinking about how qualified you are. Or who you had dinner with. They are probably thinking "This person is humiliating me, and I hate this company."

These points are perfectly encapsulated in one of my favourite quotes, "A boss creates fear; a leader, confidence. A boss fixes blame; a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all; a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery; a leader makes it interesting. A boss is interested in himself or herself; a leader is interested in the group." Russell E Ewing.

As a business owner or a manager, you are your brand. How you interact with your colleagues will effect how they view your brand. It will influence what your team members say to others about your brand. They will not be justifying your ineffective people skills because of who you had dinner with, or what university you studied at. They will more than likely be thinking that you should know better.