3 Ways to Get More Respect in the Office
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re feeling like you’re not getting enough respect in the office.
Whether it is really so or if you just feel that way for whatever reason, it’s certainly wise to consult some positive psychology, self-help, personal development or social dynamics handbooks.
It’s not shameful to read about these things.
All people yearn for respect, acceptance and let’s be honest, most of us thirst for power too.
It’s simply our instincts and genes that propel us towards seeking affirmation from the pack and what better affirmation is there than respect from your loved ones?
We lust for power because power “guarantees” that we’ll have our part in the pack.
The feeling of being accepted as a part of the pack is to an extent a guarantee of safety. In other words, if our position in the pack is stable, we are more likely to survive.
Thus we seek confirmation in many different forms and respect is one of them.
It’s a powerful feeling merged with a specific attitude towards someone who inspires awe and is deemed to be a force to be reckoned with.
As such, respect is one of the most important psychological motives that decides on our behavior which in turn decides on the outcome of our actions.
Whether we achieve our goals or not can often depend on whether the people around us are inclined to help us or not and it also works the other way around.
Whether people around us respect us or not can often depend on whether we achieve our goals or not.
It can be a vicious circle and not everyone can find their way around when it comes to breaking the ice and turning the clock.
THE NECESSITY FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Not everyone is blessed with people skills.
Many very intelligent and sharp people simply get clumsy around others because they’re either not that intuitive and skillful or they’re not confident enough.
These kinds of people usually rationalize a lot and are introverted.
These days there are many life coaches and gurus that specialize in training the less charismatic individuals in order to strengthen and develop that part of our beings that commands respect.
Since respect is a complex inclination, to command it, we need to exercise both our rational minds and bodies, but we also need to develop our intuition, confidence and strengthen our will and character.
What people react to is not just the content that is offered to them, but also the way that that content is being conveyed.
All of us need to realize that we are not just content mediums.
We are not simply means of conveying and receiving the information.
Each one of us, besides being a transmitter is also a complex entity of information per se.
To command respect, it’s useful to address ourselves as works of art that, as Da Vinci would have said it, are never finished, but only abandoned. In other words, we constantly need to strive towards perfecting ourselves.
Only then we will be at the peak of our potential and being at the peak of your potential is a sure way of commanding respect.
Although personal development is a must, it’s not “a way” of getting respect, because the whole “genre” consists of many ways of furthering your capabilities. You can do it in countless ways.
Since nobody is perfect and nobody knows everything, it may be good to invest in broad-spectrum education at first, but specialize in something later.
We’re not just talking about formal education of professional vocation here. We’re talking about hobbies as well.
Everything that you do and everything that you think becomes who you are at the end and who and what you are decides on whether you get respect or not.
In relation to that, respect is just a reaction of the environment on your presence.
Having said that, it’s wise to take full responsibility for whether you get respect or not.
You should never blame the environment as respect is USUALLY (not always) an involuntary reaction of others to what you do and what you are.
Before we jump to the actual ways you can earn respect, it’s important to stress the way you should think about yourself and the phenomenon of respect in general.
Sometimes, to get something, it’s not enough to just reach for it. Sometimes you must also understand what you’re reaching for.
It’s also helpful to understand why are you reaching for it.
Having said that, it’s important to underline the need for introspection in the process of earning respect.
Since respect is, as said, a complex phenomenon, it’s not easy to earn it and you shouldn’t hope to earn it without first putting your back into it.
DOES PUTTING YOUR BACK INTO IT REALLY WORK?
We are all raised on the age-old myth that everything can be done if you just put your back to it.
In most cases this is true, and hard work is, as always, the very basis of success.
However, the whole emphasis on breaking your back can be a dangerous one.
Namely, it’s not just important that you do and that you do a lot.
There are some equally important questions as: what do you do and how do you do it.
That’s why, If you want to earn respect, you have to put into it, not only your back, but your mind to.
After all, it’s easy to get a physical reaction out of someone.
It’s even easy to get a negative psychological reaction, but to cause a positive psychological-emotional reaction and to maintain it is a complex and delicate endeavor.
It requires self-analysis and general analysis of everything really.
You need to be as aware and as conscious as you can.
In other words, you need to take into account as many variables as you can.
It’s probably good to start with examining what respect really is and what kind of respect you want to get in the first place.
DOES MORE POWER NECESSARILY MEAN MORE RESPECT
Especially these days when people have lost all respect for the very phenomenon of respect, it’s difficult to give the formula for getting respect.
Most of the articles on the subject online will list and propose ways of getting people to fear you.
There’s a bunch of Youtube tutorials on social dynamics that plead for power relations between people.
There you can learn how to become more powerful or gain a psychological or sociological upper hand.
However, respect is not just about power nor is it just about teaching people to fear you or watch out for your reactions.
That too can be a part of respect and it’s still probably more appealing to most of us to be reckoned with than to be a submissive subject of sympathy or indifference.
Still, the respect most of us really hope for and the only form of respect that can really fulfill a healthy and sane human being is the one that comes from love. It is so because, among other reasons, the respect that comes from fear is bound to thwart at the very moment the power dynamics change.
That kind of respect is unstable at best and detrimental to the society as well as to an individual psyche. However, the key to respect is not ignoring the power dynamics.
DOES INDIFFERENCE TO POWER RELATIONS NECESSARILY IMPLY MORE RESPECT
Another sure way of NOT getting respected enough or respected the way you hope to be respected is completely ignoring the existence of the power relations between people.
While you shouldn’t strive towards becoming an insensitive power freak like some American Psycho, you shouldn’t make yourself completely unaware of that psychopathic potential that hides beneath the lust for power in most of us either.
If you’re totally disregarding the game of thrones that’s going on out there so to speak, you’ll get left out and run over.
Although Buddhism and Christianity propose disregarding such nonsense as the lust for power and respect, it’s hard to defy the mainstream of our culture which is less spiritual than some of us would have had it.
Spirituality and religions may have nailed it.
Perhaps the best way of earning respect is being indifferent to it, but how many people can really be indifferent to it?
Even those who pretend they are indifferent are usually just suppressing their urges or just playing innocent which causes suspicion from the start and suspicion and respect don’t quite go hand in hand.
Can a normal human being really be indifferent to power lust that spreads around like a virus? How many of us can really be devoted to something so internally that we get the strength to disregard our own inner urge to belong to a group?
Most of us need that feeling of belonging and it is only affirmed by reactions of others and by others noticing that we exist.
For that reason, for most of us, it’s easier to become indifferent to the power game and the hierarchy when we’re on top. Being indifferent really is a win-win situation.
You don’t care about respect even if you don’t get it and that causes people to respect you.
It’s just easier to be indifferent once you already have it, right? Just be careful not to become dependent on it. You have to control it, not vice versa.
Having control over things is generally the result and the indicator of power and, as said, power can bear birth to respect.
As for introspection and analysis, to have control over other(s), you first have to gain control over yourself and to do that, you need to get to know yourself better.
Now that we’ve established what kind of respect is the best kind and what doesn’t work, let’s talk about some ways of getting it.
After that, it’s just practice… so let’s see what works.
WORKING HARD AND INCREASING THE PRODUCTIVITY OF THE COLLECTIVE
While it has been said that merely working hard may not be enough, it is still the best option there is.
Work almost always delivers results and if you know what you’re doing and how to achieve what you want, work is the only thing that gets it done.
If you increase the productivity of your company, you’re bound to get rewarded sooner or later, which will, in turn, motivate others to contribute as well.
Other than that, the one who excels in work before all others do is a real leader.
It is important to know the difference between the leader and the boss.
It’s the same difference as the one between an entrepreneur and a businessman.
A leader is the first one to get it done and set an example to the rest of the group.
As entrepreneurs, leaders strive towards developing the skills of their coworkers and subordinates just like they strive to make a positive impact on the environment instead of just making revenue.
Having that in mind, always try to work hard instead of hardly working.
Work always delivers results and just as there is no free lunch in the modern economy (more or less), there’s no unpaid work either (more or less).
Don’t hesitate to sometimes even work overtime because it shouldn’t be just about money or counting seconds and waiting for the day to end…
Work should be about devotion to the cause and enjoying the whole process of contributing and producing whatever your work delivers.
Of course, not everyone is satisfied with their jobs, but it’s not just doing what you love, but learning how to love what you do that counts.
If everyone did what they loved, half of the world would be unemployed and would get money for just laying around, right?
If you’re a hyper performer or a hyper achiever, you’re bound to earn the respect of your coworkers, not just because they will admire your skills and devotion, but because you’ll inspire them to raise the achievement bar as well.
Inspiring and motivating colleagues by setting an example and by being the first to show how it’s done is what leadership should really be about.
It shouldn’t be about sitting on a top floor and being bossy. It’s impossible to be a leader without respect and vice versa.
If you have the respect of your coworkers, you are, in essence, a leader, no matter what your position in the corporate hierarchy really is.
Respect is not something that functions in the office and gets switched off when you go home.
Your colleagues carry that respect home and it is a true potential for promotion and climbing that corporate ladder for there’s no leader without respect and there’s no respect without governing, first yourself, and then, by an example, others.
Besides everything that’s been said, when you have a certain result, you have something to base your confidence on.
That way you get positive feedback from your surroundings which in turn has a positive impact on your confidence.
Once you start the success inertia, things just start rolling by themselves. It’s a catch 22, but in a good way.
Once you have a result behind you, you can also base your identity on it. You become a valuable, perhaps even an irreplaceable, member of the collective.
You become the guy/girl who excels in ______ (whatever you excel in).
That way your skills and expertise become your brand and your currency.
You no longer tremble in insecurity when you’re about to present yourself to someone new. You no longer shy away in shadows fearing other people’s judgment on who you are.
Judgment becomes obsolete. You already know who you are and what are you good at.
That way you can always say that you’re ______ who’s good in _____ and that becomes your trademark which is more than most people have.
Now you’re the one who passes judgment or critique and wait for other’s to put their cards on the table and show who they are, what they’ve got and what they’re worth.
It gets much easier when you have something to put on the table and bargain with, but for that, you have to work.
The more you work, the more you have, but, as said, it’s important what and how you’re doing whatever you’re doing.
GENERATE A POWER IMAGE
If you’re introverted and shy or too extroverted and difficult to bear, it might be a good idea to revise on your body language and the way you shape and present your visual identity.
It’s time to style up, but styling is not just about what you wear or how you style your hair.
Etymologically, style refers to a manner, or a way of doing things… So, in essence, your style is the way you behave in the office as well as outside of it.
Since at this particular moment we’re talking about the office, it’s important to note that every context has its own rules of behavior and breaking those rules can be dangerous if you aim for respect.
If you’re bent on breaking the rules, you better know the rules so good that you can bend them at your will. You better be irreplaceable if your choice instead of conforming is to make the rules.
If you’re irreplaceable then you probably already have tons of respect so you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place.
So you have to conform to the rules of the office to a certain extent.
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about losing your identity and becoming labeled and same as everyone else.
We’re talking about basics like avoiding being late and respecting people’s time.
As for other ways of generating a power image, you should consult some handbooks on body language and gain access to that camera in your office to analyze your body language.
Then practice home in front of the mirror and see the changes yourself.
There’s no consensus on how body language works.
Just as you can say something in different words verbally, you can improvise with body language too so we’ll skip the advice section this time.
Just be mindful of the message you’re conveying which brings us back to viewing yourself as a body of content.
Sometimes, you have to work hard to produce and shape a certain content you’d like to present.
For the sake of comparison, let’s say that it’s not enough to just walk around like you have a six-pack.
If that’s what you’re aiming for, it might be best to work out to get that six-pack or at least close because sometimes faking doesn’t make it.
It’s like that when it comes to a more… sophisticated content like the one you have in your head.
It’s not enough to just seem educated or have a certificate. Show how you can practically employ the skills and knowledge you attained.
When it comes to generating a power image, keep in mind that it shouldn’t be just a performance.
You should instead aim to really become what you’d like the others to perceive and respect. If you view it all as a performance, you might make the mistake that actors often make and obsess with your role.
Many people mistake a role for who they really are.
It’s called narcissism and people usually tend to get away from narcissists, so it’s not the best idea in the world to be fake and obsessed with your image.
At the end of the day, it’s best to keep calm, invest in developing yourself, steadily striving to become the best version of yourself and chill without giving too much thought about what others think of you.
RESPECT OTHERS AND OTHERS WILL RESPECT YOU
Speaking of not caring what other people think of you, it’s fair to mention that you should avoid taking that attitude to the extreme.
You should always be mindful of other people’s thoughts, especially when it comes to their critique of your potential flaws.
To be respectable, you should always strive towards perfecting yourself and in order to perfect yourself, you first need to know what your imperfections are.
Having said that, note that you should always be open to criticism and critique.
What you shouldn’t do, however, is let criticism damage your confidence.
You should pay attention to people, be mindful of their actions, thoughts and reactions and let them indirectly or directly point out your flaws.
You should take what they say or do into consideration and give it thought instead of mechanically accepting or disregarding other people’s opinions.
If you sometimes face negative reactions to your behavior, don’t be hasty to counter them with a negative reaction of your own.
Take a deep breath, pause and think about reasons for all that negativity. Where does it come from?
Why is it directed to you?
Sometimes people don’t even react to you. Instead, you can suffer collateral damage caused by the discharge of other people’s discontent with their own lives.
Instead of adding oil to the fire, you can even help them by not giving them a chance to quarrel.
You can tolerate, understand them and sympathize with them.
In essence, people respect power and what is power? It’s the ability to control. In relation to that, taking control over yourself and consequently taking control of your life is what will get you the respect you yearn for, but how do you take control over yourself?
The only thing you can do is be wary of your internal and external actions and reactions.
Be wary of other peoples behavior as well. Be aware of your surroundings and simply be conscious and aware of everything as much as you can.
It’s not to say that your focus should disperse of course. On the contrary.
You should know how to direct your attention in the given moment and what to direct it to.
The other expression for focusing is paying attention. It’s by no coincidence that attention here is metaphorically evaluated as currency.
It is THE currency.
The only natural currencies that we have and control are time, energy (in its many different forms) and attention.
Be mindful of how you spend your energy and what are you buying for your time and attention.
To buy something, you need to spend something and to spend your attention means that you have to narrow it down to as fewer objects at a time as possible.
Probably all of us are fighting with our neurosis and infantile need for attention.
It’s only natural that people start respecting you when you pay attention to them, having in mind how hard it actually is to focus these days. Focusing becomes a rarity and all rarities are treasured.
In relation to that, to earn the respect of your colleagues, you first have to communicate with them and get to know them. It goes without saying that communication goes both ways. In other words, you should listen at least as much as you do the talking.
If they’re stating their opinion about you, no matter if it’s good or bad, take it into account, but don’t let it cloud your judgment and self-reflection.
In the end, you take everything into account, but the final result and decision are your doing and it’s up to you to do the final evaluation.
If your colleagues are talking about themselves, however, try to be helpful and offer some advice. Caution is advised here. Keep in mind that people are vain. Do not challenge their ego.
There’s a way to state your opinion without hurting others and causing emotional mayhem. If you notice that your colleague is too worked about something that he/she is telling you, you don’t even have to respond. Just listen and try to understand and be there for your colleague.
Bottom line is that you should strive to pilot (instead of autopilot) your behavior and your presence all the time. Avoid mechanical reactions, avoid inertia. Practice critical awareness and moderation in everything even in moderation.
In other words, it’s ok to sometimes slip and exaggerate just to avoid being dull, but it’s best to be mindful of your actions, their causes and effects. If you make a mistake, admit it and make an effort to rectify it. After all, if you don’t respect others, how can you expect from others to respect you?
There are many ways one can earn respect from others.
Some are universal and others may work on an individual level only.
What all of us should ask ourselves is do we really deserve respect and do we give enough of it?
Before we start obsessing on whether we get enough of it or not, we should evaluate our worthiness of other’s respect.
As an old Latin saying says do ut des. It can loosely be translated as Give in order to take.
All of us would like to be a force to be reckoned with, to pick up all the laurels and take it all, but it’s not enough to just make others take us into account because we pose a potential threat.
The real respect we all need is the one that people give, not by the inertia of a frightened animal, but because they want to give it. Not because they’re afraid, but because they admire us.
If you’re aiming for the respect that comes from fear, you shouldn’t even google for ways to earn it.
It’s easy to make people fear you. Everything that’s easy for everyone to do usually loses its value. The trick is to do something most people find difficult to do.
The trick is not to aim for instant gratification, but to earn what you aim for.
The best way to do it is to develop yourself as a person and not just as an employee.
However, you have to start from something and work etiquette and office are as good to start from as anything else.
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