Life Skills

It’s an experience which is all too common within the office and corporate environment.

Do your opinions, solutions and comments sometimes fall on deaf ears? When you ask someone to pull their weight, is your request ignored? The question you ask yourself is, “where am I going wrong”? You know you’re intelligent; a model employee who’s always there for your colleagues. So why don’t you get the respect you deserve?

Below I’ve put together 5 ways in which you can help raise your status amongst your peers and make them realise that you are a valuable team member who deserves respect.

1. Ensure you get credit for what you do

If you’ve completed an impressive, laborious piece of work, try to make key people are aware of what you’ve done. If you’re ocnstantly down-playing your abilities or being too humble, you might be shooting yourself in the foot. No one likes a bragger, but being too humble in a professional setting can sometimes backfire and discredit your effort. One thing you can try is  carbon copying managers into your emails if you can (but don’t spam, be tactful and only copy them into things which show you in a good light and actual relevance to them). Subconsciously they will recognise your contribution, your value, ultimately resulting in more respect.

2. Quality not quantity

In any meeting don’t be the first to speak, take your time and ensure that what you say is meaningful and has value. If all you’re doing is adding is your 5 cents worth, it’s better to control the urge to speak and stay silent because in these situations less is more. If you’re asked to participate, a good approach is to say the following “I thought everyone raised some valid points …”  followed by highlighting one or two points which you liked. Ensure that you name the individuals and give them credit, then close with “I have nothing more to add”.  

3. Add weight to what you say in meetings

Start off with “like Steve said” or “I agree with Jen”. Always mention someone else’s name before making your own point and giving your opinion. When you’re in agreement with someone who has greater influence than you, your point will carry more weight! Also, those individuals will appreciate the credit they’ve received from you and therefore, subconsciously will be more supportive of what you have to say.

4. Deal with the ‘users’

It’s very likely that if you’re not respected it’s partly down to people taking advantage of your good nature and this has to stop! Every organisation has its fair share of lazy, corner-cutting  “users”, who get others to do their work whilst taking the credit. Any healthy relationship is a two-way street. So if you feel you’re being used, test your relationships.  Ask them to do something for you (related to their work) and see if they’ll do it. If they don’t (after repeated requests), it’s time to put them on your “Users” List. Next time they ask for help, just say “Sorry I’m too busy ask so and so”. They will come back but by continuously  and politely rejecting their approaches they will soon get the hint and find someone else.

5. Deal with the office bully

Not every office has one but  if you do you probably know. Their humour  is like a hate filled jam donut, doughy banter filled  with passive aggression;  and just like a school bully, they pick on easy targets. PsychologyToday talks about how humans have pack mentality; how this person will set the tone for the way others treat you. Deal with the bully and you’ll deal with the rest. So how do you do it? Firstly It’s important not to be passive aggressive back. Don’t give them the feedback or the reaction that they crave. 

My personal, simple advice is to call them out on what they say! Call a spade a spade. If they say something demeaning, let them know that what they said is demeaning and not very nice or professional. Now things might get worse before they get better (because it’s likely they’ll push for a reaction that they’re used to getting). However, by not buckling under the pressure they’ll soon realise that you’re not a soft target and they’ll eventually move on.

The human subconscious is by far the biggest driver in forming our opinions of others. By using these soft techniques, you will hopefully see improvements and find that co-workers and your boss are more interested in what you say, appreciate what you do and give you the respect you truly deserve. 

About the author: Farhan Raja is a career coach, former recruiter and founder of Jobinterviewology.com.


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