How to earn workplace respectHave you ever noticed that some people just seem to have the respect of everyone around them? People hang on their every word. They’re trusted implicitly. Everyone turns to them for advice. How does this happen? What have they done to create such an enviable reputation?

Workplace respect is something we all seek, yet many people use very counterproductive strategies to try and achieve it.

Here are a few examples of how not to get workplace respect:

1. Demand Respect

One of the fastest ways to lose respect from people is to tell them to respect you.  Yes, it’s true that by asserting your “right to be respected,” you can sometimes force people to defer to you and treat you in a respectful manner, but people’s actual respect for you will virtually disappear.

2. Brag

Some people feel that the best way to get respect from others is to continually tell everyone about their accomplishments.  While people might initially be impressed to hear about how wonderful we are, it won’t be long before they tire of the boasting and label us as braggarts.

3. Overcompensate

Some people, in their effort to gain the respect of others, become overly critical.  They demand perfection of the people around them, and will point out the smallest and most insignificant flaw in things.  The truth is, we respect people who seek excellence.  People who seek perfection for perfection sake, however, can become annoying in a hurry.

Ultimately, respect is something that can only be earned. This is true whether you want people to respect you for what you do or for who you are.

Do you want respect from your coworkers, bosses, employees or customers?  Here are two things you have to do:

1. Be good at what you do

When push comes to shove, if you want respect for what you do, you have to be good at what you do. Find a niche that you can “own,” then become an insatiable student. Attend every workshop, seminar and conference you can. Be a voracious reader. Find a mentor. Practice.

2. Be a ‘go-to’ person

Be the person that people turn to when they are looking for help. Be honest, walk your talk, and make a point to be interested about the people around you.

One More Important Thing

One important thing about earning the respect of the people around you: Be patient and be careful. Like a great tree, it can take many years for respect to grow, yet only moments for it to be lost forever.


[This is from the Archive Project – where we are attempting to get 12 years of Winning at Work on the web.  Original publication date: 11 April, 2006]

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