Respect is something we don’t really think about, until we experience the lack of it. I wrote this post to help others with issues I’ve gone through in both my personal and professional lives. Respect is something to be given to others, and to be both expected and earned from them in return.
If you feel you are not respected at work, whether by a boss or coworkers, look at the following factors that might be the cause:
- your quality of work – is it merely acceptable, or do you put everything you have into the tasks you deliver on? do you meet your deadlines? do you sacrifice accuracy because you are procrastinating and waiting until the last minute to finish things that have been promised to others?
- are you late to work?
- do you have a tendency to let others at work take advantage of you (assuming being nice means doing everything that others you work with ask you to do without question – and this goes for your boss too)? do you take too much responsibility on yourself for the feelings of others when at work? do you have any one-sided relationships where your attention to the other person’s issues is always needed, like a babysitter?
- Are you kind and respectful to everyone you meet, or are you selective about who you show respect to? And if it’s the latter, why do you feel this is ok?
- Be impeccable with work and deadlines as often as possible. Everyone has a signature that their work gets stamped with. Make sure your work shows excellence and a strong attention to detail.
2. Be kind to your coworkers. Be close friends with a few at most, but don’t try to be everyone’s best friend.
I’ve made this mistake after moving to a new city, and confused being friendly with being friends with the majority of your coworkers. Over time, I came to realize that these are not the same things. Work and socializing are 2 very different things, and too much focus on one to the exclusion of the other is not good, and will make you appear very one-sided. Strive hard for balance. There is no perfect, but there is definitely a ‘good enough’ in each category. Wanting to be liked by everyone comes across as needy, and that needy quality does not garner respect, for the reason that it comes across as a lack of self-respect.
3. Own up to a mistake after you realize that you’ve made one. It’s trite, but everyone makes mistakes. If you encounter one of your own, fix it rather than just covering it up and hoping no one notices.
It’s rare to find straightforward people that own up to any faults they have, and I consider them to be the real gems. I used to have a very hard time with criticism when I was younger, and take every bit of it personally. Eventually I learned that the strongest people are able to take it all in stride. If there is a habit you can improve upon, it can only help you to do so. Thank the person for their words, and let them know you plan to think it through. If you correct negative behaviors, this habit will earn respect from your detractors and tends to neutralize them, if not make them fans. If you say that you will take a thought into consideration, make sure to do so.
Take all criticism as a means to improve yourself and take your game to the next level. As long as the advice is logical and appears to be based in fact, internalize it. Take some time to think through times in the past where you might have done whatever is being criticized. And if it was a big issue, it can’t hurt to follow up with the critic and let them know that you took their words seriously. and are making changes to your behavior for the future. I like to think that only people that actually care about your future will take the time to pass the criticism to you, rather than just noticing whatever behavior and moving on.
4. Identify solutions or options as often as possible when presenting issues to your manager. Make your boss’s job as easy as possibly by first analyzing the problem, and then gathering a few options for them to choose from as their decision. It will make you a low maintenance employee for them to manage, and outlining strategic options is a great exercise that will help you ascend to their job eventually.
5. Make sure that you are speaking your mind every now and then in meetings. If you have been invited to a meeting, there is a reason for it. Most of the time, your input is needed and will be appreciated if presented concisely and intelligently. Don’t shy away from speaking up – prepping to do so is another opportunity to grow your skills and show them off.
6. Learn destressing techniques to help out when your emotions rise or you get anxiety, if you have any issues with controlling your emotions or get tongue-tied in stressful times. Practice using them to reduce the emotion, so you are able to continue thinking rationally in situations where you will this skill most. I really like EFT as a way of distressing when I’m in a tense situation. It looks a bit strange, and will feel a bit weird the first 100 times you do it, but it has worked for me. Looking up tapping for emotions to learn more.
It can be so incredibly frustrating when you are around a disrespectful person. Chances are, they act this way with multiple people, and have just been able to get away with it for years. They might not even realize how they come across, but you still need to be able to keep your emotions in check, whether you are triggered by a person’s negative behavior, or just a tense situation. Deadlines get missed and mistakes can happen. Displaying calmness and strategic thinking when you are under pressure will allow you to go far in your career. All heads of organization have had to find practices that help them stay calm when they are tense or aggravated.
8. Find a trusted mentor that you can go to for advice if you have issues commanding respect from others, and none of the above techniques are helping. There is probably a behavior that you are displaying, or a situation that you are not aware of that is the reason that you are having this issue.
9. If you display people pleasing behavior, it is frequently a learned behavior from childhood. It feels good to be liked, but if you grew up feeling that you had to do everything that is asked of you in order to be liked, this thought process shows up later in life as a boundary issue.
Boundaries are a huge aspect that contributes to both positive and negative interactions in relationships. Poor boundaries mean your relationships will suffer. We don’t want to focus too strongly on weaknesses, but it’s a simple fact that we all have issues that can be improved. If you’ve experienced repeated disrespect in work situations, this is likely one of the causes. Especially if it can’t be attributed to below par work deliverables or any other behaviors that are seen as unprofessional.
- With family and friends, do your best to always be respectful, even if you find yourself in a heated situation. It is possible to resolve conflict peacefully – always aim for this as your goal.
- Place the responsibility for an issue with the person that has the issue. Make it clear when you have an issue, that it’s the issue you have the problem with, and not the person.
- Read ‘The 5 love languages’ or take the mini quiz based on ‘The 5 love languages’ book with your partner. Make a note of the love languages that you display the least. Do your best to see things from their point of view, for a reality check against your own perceptions of the situation.
- Address any issues that come up as a result of anger. See my most recent post on transforming anger to peace for help with this issue.
- Make time for fun with all of your dear ones. If it’s not on the schedule, add it to the calendar and make it a priority.