It’s often said that respect is earned, not demanded, and that’s true. But how does one go about earning respect in the workplace? Here are seven strategies to do just that.
- Prove that you add value early on. People respect those who contribute value. Identify a project you can take on that will yield positive benefits for your organisation or a key problem you can solve and you will be well on your way to earning the respective of your peers.
- Leverage the respected brands of others. Find a key person (or two) that has a respected personal brand and associate yourself with them. See how you can assist them and be of value. This is not only a smart networking principle, but will boost your respect because your personal brand will be associated with theirs. Think about it – if you found out that your new colleague was a close friend of someone you admire and respect, say Richard Branson, it would probably influence the way you think about that person. Whether it means asking one of the respected Exco members at your company to mentor you or choosing to volunteer for a project that will be led by a respected colleague, look for ways to build relationships with well respected people and you will increase your own respect. Similarly, steer clear of associating with people with a bad reputation to avoid compromising your own personal brand.
- Take a firm stand on what you believe. When it comes to issues that are important to you, take a firm stance on what you believe and stick to it (making sure you can back up your position with facts, research and logic). People will respect you for this, even if your beliefs are different to theirs.
- Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. While I’m not suggesting disputing things just for the sake of it, if there’s a good reason to challenge a system / policy / process / norm, find a fresh alternative and go for it. By supplying new ideas on how to improve “the way things have always been done” you will build respect and showcase the value you add.
- Live abundantly. People who share their networks, contacts, knowledge and resources freely tend to be well respected. People admire and appreciate abundance because it speaks to confidence and generosity. Be willing to share and help where you can and you will be respected for it.
- Protect your integrity. Stick by your key personal values – don’t compromise. Be known for living out your values, even when it’s tough to do so, and you will earn respect for this.
- Be smart in how you frame your successes. Learn to communicate your successes by focusing on the value you have delivered, rather than empty bragging or posturing. Those who have earned respect have done so by proving in tangible, quantifiable ways that they add value. Do the same.