Obtaining experience and skills is a surefire way to gain your colleagues’ respect, but that can take years of building a rapport and massive effort. Luckily there are also some small steps you can take in everyday work situations to get that respect.
You may be young or a junior staff member, your department may be underfunded or you are in a role that does not get much credit. There are many reasons why you may lack the workplace respect you feel you deserve, but don’t let circumstances like these affect your work. You may not have control over your age, level of experience or how others perceive your role, but you have control over your behavior and that makes a strong impact on others.
You have the opportunity to act as a leader regardless of your position and your circumstances. If you act the part, you can gain the respect you need to propel your career. So here are 7 ways to gain respect and trust at work.
1. Listen carefully
Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Leaders listen first to understand. People will respect you more if they feel that you are listening to them to understand and not just waiting for your turn to say something.
Leadership is less about your voice and more about elevating the voice of others.
2. Ask questions
Leaders ask questions to gather information. It is a sign of interest, not stupidity. Ask questions about projects people are working on and how their day is going. When you show interest in others, others will begin to show interest in you.
3. Look people in the eye
When you are speaking with someone look at them and make them feel like they have your full attention. Don’t look at your phone or wander your eyes around. Focus on the person so they know your attention is on them. Make the person feel valued, and they will value you.
4. Speak at meetings
In meetings, people may say “let’s talk separately or after the meeting.” This means that they want to speak with you one-on-one and not in a group setting. To the rest of the group, this may give a bad impression of not participating. Take advantage of the time before and after meetings to speak with individuals one-on-one, but make sure that you voice any concerns during the meeting itself if it pertains to the whole group. Don’t be afraid to speak up in group meetings if you have something constructive to add. And as before, listen to others attentively.
Give people the opportunity to voice their perspective, issues, and concerns. They will appreciate it
5. Treat people well
This may be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow this simple principle. They expect respect without giving it themselves. Everyone deserves respect, whether it is the CEO, an intern or the janitor. Leaders should respect people to be respected.
6. Shake hands
A touch is a powerful element in human interaction. Don’t be afraid to touch someone when you are greeting or congratulating them. Of course, we don’t mean to touch people inappropriately. And make sure you are aware of physical boundaries, which can vary from culture to culture.
You see many leaders in government and business utilize this properly. A simple handshake (firm and with conviction) is a powerful communication tool to empathize and develop a deeper connection that can gain you respect.
A smile goes a long way. To gain respect, you do not have to be serious all the time. Smile to make people closer to you. It is not a sign of weakness, on the contrary, it is a way to show emotions that can make people feel comfortable and help to further develop a deeper connection with others.
Remember, there is no single magical rule a leader or a CEO must follow. Writer Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." Stay true to yourself and take advantage of these 7 simple ways to gain the respect you deserve and move up the career ladder with confidence!