The question of how to gain respect at work comes down to a few key factors: you need to have the right skills, you need to work hard and you need to have your accomplishments recognized. Skills might be something you are born with or something you work hard to master over time. A good work ethic is a crucial part of success in any area of your life—a lesson that is hopefully ingrained from a young age. But what about having your success recognized by others? While in a perfect world you wouldn’t have to worry about what others think of you, in the real world if you don’t gain the respect of your colleagues, your boss and your clients, you’ll never truly get ahead.
As Inc. Magazine reports, according to Geoffrey James, contributing editor for Inc.com and author of Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know, success at work isn’t about money, it’s about respect. “If you command respect, people listen when you talk and take action when asked…Contrary to popular belief, a fancy job title never commands respect.” So if a senior title and a big paycheck don’t guarantee respect, then how do you get the attention, admiration and cooperation you need at work? Here are 8 tips on how to gain respect in the office.
1. Be Genuine
Think about the people you respect in your everyday life—friends, family members, mentors. You rarely care about the opinions of those who are fake and hard to read. The people who stay true to their values and passions are the ones you will not only admire, but also aspire to be like. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not and instead focus on what makes you unique if you want to earn people’s respect.
Read Related: Office Matters: How to Wrangle Gender Equality at Work
2. Listen to Others
According to career coach Lisa Quast in an article for Forbes.com, if you want to command respect you need to “use active listening skills–really listen and hear what people are saying.” She argues that listening shows that you care. “Sometimes I think we speed through life so quickly that we don’t take enough time to really hear other people. To do so takes the ability to be patient, generous with your time, and sincerely care about others,” she explains.
3. Operate Out of Passion, Not Fear
People will respect your ideas if you respect your ideas. Don’t be afraid to suggest something out of the box or risky; be passionate about your work and your opinions. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept the ideas of others, but playing it safe rarely leads to success, and it definitely doesn’t earn the respect of your team and boss.
4. Make Efforts to Help Others—No Job is Too Small
It doesn’t matter if you are the unpaid intern or the CEO, when it comes to how to get respect, always make an effort to help the team. If there is a big presentation and your team is working late, offer to stay and pitch in. If someone wants to brainstorm, offer to be a sounding board and lend your expertise. Never be afraid to contribute; it’s often those who contribute the most and try the hardest that earn the most respect (and appreciation) of others.
5. Set a Standard of Hard Work
Work ethic is taught by example. You can’t ask someone to do a better job if you don’t make the same efforts in your responsibilities. As per Huff Post, according to the Levo League, “if you want more responsibility, some respect, and maybe a raise, you’re not going to get it just by doing what is being handed to you.” Go above and beyond to show you are willing to work hard and your actions will inspire more hard work and respect.
6. Admit When You are Wrong
No one is perfect; admit when you are wrong and accept your mistakes. Then learn from them, ask for help and acknowledge when someone else did a better job or had a better idea than you. There is no shame in admitting your faults, and when other see you use this as an opportunity to grow, they’ll respect you more than ever.
7. Be Present and be Positive
Don’t just give orders and expect respect. Be present in your office. Make an effort to be around, to be available to coworkers, whether they are your boss or an assistant. Always be open to conversations and collaborations, and do it with a positive attitude. People notice when you infuse positive, can-do energy into an office space.
8. Be Inclusive and Support Your Employees
Above all, if you want your employees and colleagues to respect you, you need to show that you have their backs. Speak in terms of “we” not “me” and encourage participation at all levels. Don’t expect all of the credit when things go right; instead use the success of your team to build-up your employees and encourage continued good work. When you can show that you genuinely care about your team and you focus on the needs of others then you’ll truly earn more respect in the office (and in life).