Winning the admiration of your co-workers is a process, not an instant result. You typically know when you’re losing respect among your peers. Common warning signs include their patronizing comments or having your suggestions ignored. Sometimes your biggest challenge may be overcoming others’ stereotypical images, such as feeling that you must demonstrate that you can pull your weight even though you’re the youngest team member. Over time, you can foster respect by showing that you’re capable of doing your job.
Focus on Business
Respect at work requires a level of likability, but be wary of being so friendly that you come across as a pushover, writes Caroline Dowd-Higgins, Director of Professional Enrichment, Indiana University Alumni Association, in a Huffington Post article. Employees, especially new hires, can fall into traps that turn them into people-pleasers instead of professionals. Common pitfalls include offering to fetch soft drinks for everyone or taking meeting minutes. Instead, volunteer for work-related projects or committees. This allows you to show that you’re congenial without taking on nurturing tasks outside your job duties, advises Dowd-Higgins. You want to be the go-to person for your business expertise, not because you can’t say no to running office errands.
Earn respect in the office by working hard and demonstrating that you’re knowledgeable about your job, says contributing editor Erin Burt for Kiplinger.com. Your boss and co-workers will see that you’ve got talent and initiative when you go out of your way to deliver excellence. This means arriving at the office early or staying late, taking classes to improve your skills and asking good questions to show you’re well-informed, writes Burt. Dependability and reliability are surefire qualities that lead to employee respect, she adds.
Bad habits can sabotage your efforts to earn your co-workers’ respect. Even common behaviors like playing computer games during working hours or saying “um” too frequently can undo some of your efforts to build a respectful image, says Burt. Follow your company’s dress code, and keep your appearance and work space neat. Your communication style can hinder you because profanity, poor eye contact or divulging too much personal information can affect other people’s opinions of you on your job. Any of these missteps could leave people with the impression that you are unprofessional or immature, which could reduce their esteem of you.
Your co-workers can become valuable resources when you’re trying to build respect. Be the first to praise your boss and peers for their victories, in addition to learning to feel comfortable when your colleagues know more than you do, advises reporter Beth Monaghan for Time.com. In fact, many successful leaders deliberately surround themselves with people more knowledgeable than they are, according to Monaghan. Conflict resolution skills also are imperative because it’s important to know how to disagree and build consensus instead of getting into office quarrels that can be destructive to teamwork.
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