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12 Effective Ways To Gain Respect In The Workplace

12 Effective Ways To Gain Respect In The Workplace

This week saw the release of the OECD’s globally relevant ‘Better Life Index’, which ranks international countries according to 11 criteria sets that are reportedly crucial to a happy life. Including data concerning health, education, income and environment, it also asks respondents to evaluate their priorities in life and analyzes their overall “sense of happiness”.

Many of the criteria revolve around the world of work, especially when you consider annual income levels and the environment that we are exposed to every day. A productive and contented work life is crucial if you are to maintain a genuine sense of happiness, as without this you may find it difficult to remain positive or maintain a strong sense of self.

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    So what exactly makes us happy in the workplace? In truth there are multiple factors that impact on a contented working life, but gaining respect from our colleagues is arguably the single most important. This forms the foundation for daily working relationships and long-term progression within a particular industry, so consider the following steps towards achieving this:

    1. Demonstrate your worth and value as an employee.

    The process of gaining respect from both colleagues and superiors begins from the moment you first enter the workplace, and you must immediately demonstrate an understanding of your worth and unique value as an employee. This must not only be reflected in the salary that you demand from your managers, but also in the way that you undertake your role and add value to the business through the completion of individual tasks that fall within your job description.

    2. Interact with your colleagues and care about their lives.

    Even with the best of intentions, our lives can sometimes take an unwanted or potentially disruptive turn. This can make it difficult to attend work with a smile and a proactive attitude, but this is crucial if you want to retain the respect of those around you. By continuing to interact with your colleagues and taking a genuine interest in their lives–even during times of hardship–you are displaying an eminently human quality that commands the good will of others.

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    3. Speak calmly and listen to others.

    Respect must always be a mutual concept, as you cannot hope to gain it without offering it in the first instance. It is therefore crucial that you remain a good listener at all times, and take the opinions of others on board before taking a direct action or decision. On a similar note, you must always speak calmly when interacting with both colleagues and superiors, as otherwise you run the risk of alienating them and developing a reputation as someone who is difficult to work with.

    4. Always smile during times of triumph.

    While the world of work can be challenging, this should not detract from those occasions where you achieve a goal or successfully complete a project. It is important to celebrate these moments, both as an individual and as part of a larger team. A warm and positive smile serves to underline a job well done. This will help to foster greater levels of morale over time, while it will also cement your position as a popular and well-respected employee.

    5. Deal with adversity in a similar manner.

    Just as professional sportsmen are tested more in defeat than they are in victory, so too the average employee must dig deeper during adversity than in times of prosperity. You must treat both of these entities with a positive and proactive attitude, and maintain your smile even during challenging and difficult times. Your ability to maintain a focused and level head will only boost the esteem in which you are held; this is also a key attribute to have in the business world.

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    6. Go above and beyond the call of duty.

    Whenever you start a job, you are given a basic salary and a job description that outlines the tasks under your control. As you develop relationships with those around you and earn greater levels of responsibility, however, you must be willing to operate outside of these boundaries and do more than is expected of you. Whether this is covering for an unforeseen absence or completing a project within a specified deadline, your willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty will ensure that you remain well-respected among your peers.

    7. Make collaboration a key aspect of your work life.

    On a similar note, there may also be instances where it is necessary to work on a collaborative project with different colleagues and departments. This can be challenging, especially if you are unfamiliar with their working methods or prefer to operate on an independent basis. Earning universal respect requires you to communicate with people across multiple levels, regardless of status or pre-existing relationship. With this in mind, you must always be open to collaboration and strive to work effectively with any kind of team.

    8. Establish boundaries and understand your limits.

    Achieving respect in the workplace is a delicate balancing act, as while you must be willing to take on additional work and collaborate, it is also important that you prioritize your own professional goals. You must strive to understand your limits and establish boundaries as an employee, as this ensures that your position is never compromised by taking on too heavy a workload. If you fail to do this, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed and at the mercy of more selfish and manipulative colleagues.

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    9. Practice the virtue of patience.

    Professional respect relies on your ability to showcase both compassion and understanding, as you must make the most of your colleagues’ strengths while also making allowances for their weaknesses. Everyone brings a unique skill-set to the workplace, while each individual also works at his or her own pace. It is crucial that you are patient when dealing with colleagues and superiors, as this enables you to become a productive and respected member of a multi-layered organization.

    10. Avoid the perils of office gossip.

    While office gossip can occasionally be fun and even insightful, it must be avoided at all costs if you are to be respected as a trustworthy and conscientious employee. Not only does a willingness to engage in gossip suggest that you are incapable of discreetly managing potentially sensitive information, but it also creates the impression of someone who has a less than dedicated approach to their work. Neither of these attributes are likely to inspire respect within the workplace, especially if you are based in a relatively small office where behavior can be easily analyzed.

    11. Deal with conflict in a proactive and mature manner.

    Rather like gossip, conflict is an inevitable and yet unpleasant aspect of any busy workplace. While the former can be avoided, the latter cannot and it is how you handle professional conflict that determines whether or not you are likely to earn the respect of your colleagues. By adopting a proactive approach and confronting such conflict in a mature manner, for example, you can achieve an amicable resolution and easily earn the respect of those around you. This is crucial; it can also help to strengthen professional relationships over time.

    12. Become a problem solver.

    As I touched on earlier, professional respect can also be achieved simply by adding unique value to the workplace. While you can do this by undertaking your role tenaciously and effectively, it is also possible to become a talented problem solver with skills in analytical thinking, strategizing, and negotiation. Every workplace needs a proactive problem solver, so by taking on the mantle and fulfilling this need you can gain newfound respect among your colleagues.

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    Last Updated on April 17, 2019

    10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

    10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

    What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

    Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

    They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

    1. Communication Skills

    Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

    To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

    Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

    Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

    After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

    2. Flexibility

    Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

    Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

    Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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    Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

    3. Being a Team Player

    Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

    What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

    This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

    Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

    4. Positive Mental Attitude

    There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

    Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

    Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

    It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

    Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

    5. A Strong Work Ethic

    People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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    If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

    Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

    • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
    • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
    • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
    • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

    For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

    6. Public Speaking

    Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

    Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

    If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

    For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

    Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

    7. Integrity

    From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

    • Always doing what you say you will do
    • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

    …even when no one is around to check up on you.

    There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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    Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

    8. Managing Your Time

    Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

    A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

    Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

    Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

    These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

    9. Assertiveness

    In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

    • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
    • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
    • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
    • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

    Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

    How do you use this information for yourself?

    It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

    Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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    How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

    10. Creative Thinking

    LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

    Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

    How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

    Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

    These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

    You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    Final Thoughts

    The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

    So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

    The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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    Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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