When it comes to the old 9 to 5, there often are a million and one reasons why it's difficult to gain more respect at work. Maybe you're the youngest, or the only woman, or new to the field, and because of that, people are sort of brushing you off. Of course these reasons are unfair, but they still exist, and they can certainly make it difficult to adjust at work.
If any of that above sounds familiar, then you're going to have to put in a little extra effort to prove yourself — especially in the beginning. It may mean working late, or sucking up a bit, all in an effort to make a name for yourself. Don't feel bad about it. Finding your way in your career is sort of like a game, and you have to be willing to try some of these strategies.
But even if you aren't dealing with biases, it can still be difficult to earn your boss's trust. So that's why you have to march into your place of business everyday, and demand some more respect. I know from experience that the very idea may seem scary, but you gotta do it anyway. Read on for some easy ways to stand out at work, and finally earn the respect you deserve.
1. Finish Your Work On Time, No Matter What
In order to build up respect, you have to be trustworthy. And that always boils down to doing things when you say you'll do them. Make phone calls when you should, finish up projects on time, and don't leave emails hanging. "This will demonstrate to ... your supervisors ... that you are a responsible person who keeps their word," said Peter Daisyme on Entrepreneur. "This also helps others trust you and shows you have a high level of accountability." All good things.
2. Dress The Part
In a perfect world, we would be able to go to work in our pajamas. Not only would it be comfy AF, but it would show that skill and talent mean more than style and presentability. But until that day comes, it's kind of the rule that we look professional at work. If that seems unfair, think of it this way: "The way we dress affects the way we feel. And the way we feel affects our ability to get stuff done and influence people," said Carl Richards in The New York Times. So dress the part to impress your boss, but do it for yourself, as well.
3. Have A Backup Plan
Having a backup plans means you don't have to worry as much at work — about getting fired, saying the wrong thing, etc. Once you stop worrying and tiptoeing around, you'll give off a cool, relaxed vibe that will be oh-so respectable. "This will [also] give you the confidence and flexibility to be a visionary," Daisyme noted. Knowing you have nothing to lose will help you pitch ideas and speak up in meetings with the best of them.
4. Project Some Confidence
If you're feeling nervous or unsure of yourself at work, it's going to show. So even if you don't quite feel confident yet on the inside, do your best to appear confident on the outside. As Kelley Lorde said on EliteDaily.com, "... your stature and demeanor must come across confident and strong ... If you come across as shy, your voice and opinion will likely be overlooked." Stand up straight, make eye contact, and voice your opinions.
5. Be Nice To Your Coworkers
Of course you should be nice to your coworkers, but try to go beyond the passing "hello" in the hallways. Start chatting them up, and getting to know them on a deeper level. "By continuing to interact with your colleagues and taking a genuine interest in their lives ... you are displaying an eminently human quality that commands the good will of others," said Lewis Humphries on Lifehack.org. It'll not only make for a better work day, (and work friends, yay!), but being well-liked will also help you gain more respect.
6. Keep Your Desk Organized
If your boss is constantly poking his or her head into your office, then really start to question your heaping piles of papers and overflowing desk drawers. That's because there's a very fine line between a productive-looking mess, and pure chaos that screams, "I can barely handle my job." It's better to lean in the neat and tidy direction, if you're trying to make a good impression.
7. Don't Get Too Stressed Out
It's perfectly fine to be honest about your emotions at work — just don't let them get the best of you. As Lorde said, "Every person makes mistakes, but becoming emotional about them will make you seem ... unreliable. If you feel yourself losing it, relieve yourself and take a breather outside."
8. Practice Saying No
It may feel like you have to accept every project thrown your way, but that's not actually the case — especially when it comes to earning respect, and feeling respected. "Yes, doing these things will prove your gratitude and value to your company, but it won't make you feel appreciated or respected," Lorde said. It'll just make you feel overworked, and like the go-to person for odd jobs. That's why it's not only OK, but respectable, to turn down extra work and instead stick to your more important tasks.
9. Make Everyone's Lives Easier
If you do have extra time, however, see what you can do around the office to make everyone's lives easier. Make more coffee, put paper in the printer, and take some initiative on your projects. "These actions range from innocuous and barely noticeable to high-profile and memorable, but all of them will have some impact on how people see and think of you," said Jayson Demers on Inc.com.
10. Always Be Consistent
Above everything else, be consistent when it comes to making changes, and trying to earn more respect. "You can't follow these ... steps in an afternoon and expect everyone to start treating you better," Demers said. "Instead, you need to be consistent with these steps for weeks, maybe even months, before you start to see results."
Stick with it, and before long your boss will notice, and hopefully start giving you the respect you deserve.
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