How To Be Respected By Your Colleagues

Being respected by your colleagues does not always come easy. Most people have the decency to treat their colleagues like equals, but some don’t. Some people believe that their title or grade entitles them to treat you less than them. In that situation, you need to stand up for yourself. So here’s my starter for ten.

Lead by example: treat others with respect

Don’t play games. You don’t have to like everyone at work, but you should respect everyone, if you want to be respected.

If you feel a strong negative reaction towards a colleague, take some time to clear it using the techniques I gave you in Managing Conflict In The Workplace

Treat your colleagues like equals

“Everybody is equal” is a phrase I heard a lot when I was working in Denmark. Denmark is a very egalitarian country. When I landed my colleagues explain to me with pride how when you join a Danish company you shouldn’t be able to tell who the team leader from the direct reports.

They did have a point. Regardless of titles or grades, we are all human beings first, and should be treated equally.

If you start treating everyone like equals in the office, you will find it easier to progress too as you will gradually feel less intimidated by people of a higher grade. It is important in the corporate world to be able to work with anyone, regardless of ranks, so best to start practising straight away.

Don’t let your colleagues walk all over you

That said there is a difference between treating people with respect and letting them walk all over you! I am not telling you to be a people pleaser. That doesn’t usually earn you any respect at all. So if you want to be respected by your colleagues, you should stand your ground and assert yourself and your views. Somehow, people tend to respect people who have an opinion and are not easily swayed.

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Be calm, professional and polite at all time

Anger is the response of the person who doesn’t have any argument left. I learned that from my big sister who used to drive me nuts when I was little to the point of making me angry. And when I was angry, she would say: “anger is the response of the person who doesn’t have any argument left”. Mean.

But it was a valuable lesson that served me right when I started negotiating contracts.

Set boundaries and stick to them

Be clear on what you will accept and won’t accept and stand your grounds firmly.

For more details on how to set boundaries, see How To Put Yourself First At Work (Without Losing Your Job)  

Don’t do your colleagues’ work

This is linked to “don’t let people walk all over you” above, but it is important to mention it because you won’t get any thanks for it and it will prevent you from doing your job. So learn how to push back politely but firmly.   

Try these simple hacks and let me know how you get on

Do you have other tips on how to be respected by your colleagues? What works well for you? I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments.

Further resources

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This article is part of the series Happier At Work, which you can find here.

And remember, happiness is a choice, and you are in charge!

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