You should not try to demand respect because that will put up a stop sign to your peers.
Does it ever seem like your coworkers don’t respect you or that your boss doesn’t take you seriously? Almost everyone feels like this sometimes, but some folks get this feeling a bit more often. It’s demoralizing to feel like your potential and value are not realized by your colleagues and supervisors, but you have the power to change this. There are simple steps you can take, tiny things you can change to help change the way you are perceived and received by the people you work with.
IMAGE ISN’T EVERYTHING, BUT IT’S SOMETHING:
Dress for success. If you want to be taken seriously, look serious.
If you work in a casual environment, you don’t have to start strolling into work each day in a suit, but your image might need a little adjustment regardless of your work environment.
Look like you demand respect. Make sure your clothes are clean, well-fitting and figure flattering. Wear clothes that are in-style and in-season, but don’t dress overly trendy. Keep everything neat and tidy, making sure you always have your shoelaces tied, for example, or keeping your shirt evenly tucked (or not tucked).
If you wear things that are obviously branded, make sure that it is a brand that reflects how you want others to see you. A youthful brand like Abercrombie might not be appropriate for you if you are an accountant looking for the admiration of your peers, but it could be perfect for a lot of other environments. In a law firm, Armani would make you look successful, but in a different workplace, wearing such a high-end brand could make you look pretentious and like a braggart.
Finally, take a few cues from both your colleagues and your supervisors. You don’t need to mimic them exactly, but you should take some style lessons from them. If you are the only woman in the office wearing open-toed shoes, you might be dressing too casually and should think about investing in some posh closed-toe pumps. If your boss always wears a suit and you show up daily in a button down and a sweater, it might be time to step it up a notch. At the same time, if you are rocking a suit and your boss is wearing khakis and gym shoes, it might look as if you are trying too hard.
DO UNTO OTHERS:
Of course you deserve respect, but do you treat others with respect?
Even if you think the guy in the next cubicle is a little thick-headed, you don’t need to remind him of it every time the two of you talk.
Think of the golden rule, and treat others how you want to be treated. Give everyone the same level of deference you want to receive. Like the rule of attraction states in the most simplified terms, like attracts like, so if you are dishing out the respect you want and deserve, you will eventually start getting it back.
Even when someone talks down to you or criticizes you in an unnecessarily harsh manner, respond to them as if you truly value their opinion and are going to consider their comments. Talk to them in a professional, reverential manner, the same way you want your work and ideas to be received. This doesn’t mean you should let anyone walk all over you, but don’t let yourself get angry, defensive or petty.
HAVE A WORD WITH YOURSELF:
There are two conversations you should have with yourself.
In this first conversation, you need to take an inventory of why you should be respected. Take note of your experience and skill, your education and expertise. Make a mental list of all the ways in which you contribute. While you are doing this, if you start to come up with legitimate reasons why you don’t command respect, start looking at how you can change your behavior to get the deference you deserve.
The second talk you need to have with yourself is in the form of affirmations. My favorite time of day for these is in the morning. Affirmations don’t have to be incredibly detailed, but they do need to happen regularly and become ritual. You could simply wake up every morning and announce to the waking world, “I am respected.” As you cross the threshold into your office, you could mentally whisper, “I am deserving.”
The only one who can earn you the respect of others is you. Hopefully, the simple steps outlined here will help you start to bolster your self-worth, which will in turn start attracting the deference and admiration you truly deserve.
There are many more things you can do to get more respect and admiration in the workplace, but these are just a few simple steps to start you out in the right direction as you continue to develop yourself and begin to enjoy the respect and admiration that will soon follow.