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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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    Published on June 5, 2018

    Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

    Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

    Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

    Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

    Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance . Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to make it happen for a more fulfilling life.

    Signs that you need a career change

    The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

    You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

    Physical signs

    Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

    It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

    In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

    Mental signs

    One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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    I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

    Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

    • The tension in your neck
    • Difficulties with sleeping
    • Unable to concentrate
    • High anxiety
    • Depression

    If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

    Why a career change is good for you

    I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

    One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

    It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

    A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

    You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

    • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
    • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
    • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

    Common mistakes of people making a career change

    Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. What is your situation?

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    • Desire for an increase of salary: The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time. At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.
    • Overnight decision: Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.
    • Rejected for a promotion: I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.
    • Bored at work: Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

    A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

    • How long have you worked in your career?
    • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
    • Do you receive recognition?
    • Can you consider working in a new department?

    The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization. Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

    Now that you had a chance to review your work situation and none of these recommendations can help, it is time to take the next step.

    How to make the change for a successful career (Step-by-step)

    The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

    1. Write a career plan

    A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

    You can learn how to set your career plan here.

    2. Weigh your options

    If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

    You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job, in the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

    3. Be real about the pros and cons

    It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are impacting the current situation.

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    A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:

    • Economic factors
    • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
    • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
    • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
    • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a mentor

    A mentor that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: A Good Mentor Is Hard to Find: What to Look for in a Mentor

    5. Research salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

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    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer first

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare your career tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.

    Final thoughts

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will discover the role that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing careers will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1]Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2]MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan

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