Do people look down at you in your workplace? Are you constantly being overlooked by your boss or your work colleagues? Are you unhappy with the opinions others hold about you?
In short, do you wish people took you more seriously?
If so, there are a few things you can do to improve the way you are perceived at work. Consider the following suggestions and get the respect you might feel you deserve if you adhere to each one.
#1: Stop Being the Workplace Clown
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fun in the workplace. And there’s nothing wrong with you having a laugh with the people around you. However, if you become known as the ‘workplace clown,’ your reputation might do much to tarnish the way others think about you.
So, go easy on the joke-telling, especially during serious meetings. Don’t pull pranks on your colleagues, especially when they are busy at work. And don’t assume everybody is in the mood for your particular sense of humor, especially when they have rolled their eyes at you in the past.
Sometimes, you need to get your serious head on. You need to contribute words in meetings that actually mean something, and that aren’t the punchline of a joke. And also need to work hard during the day, without taking time out to do something funny for the supposed benefit of your colleagues.
You don’t need to drop your funny persona permanently. But remember that if you do want people to take you seriously, you need to behave in a way that will encourage them to respect you more. Become known as somebody who cares about their work. Not as somebody who only cares about what prank he might pull next.
#2: Be Mindful of Your Appearance
If you turn up to work looking unkempt and scruffy, perhaps with creased clothes and your hair all in a flurry, then you aren’t going to be taken very seriously. No matter what kind of career you are in, remember that the way you look is your way of creating a good first impression. So don’t let yourself go.
Always remember to dress appropriately, be that a suit and tie if you’re working in an office environment. Or something akin to these men’s scrubs from Uniform Advantage if you’re working in healthcare. Remember to wear these outfits well too. So look after them in and out of the workplace.
Also remember to take time out to focus on your appearance before coming into work. Comb your hair, get a shave and take time out to focus on other aspects of your face and body. Then stand in front of a mirror to get a better look at yourself before you head out to work. Fix anything that needs to be fixed before your boss and work colleagues get a look at you.
#3: Go Back to School
Aside from the “soft” skills, you should focus on the “hard” skills. This means building upon the requirements of your chosen career. There are all kinds of reasons why you should head back to school, not least for the opportunity to improve your skills and knowledge. With the right training and education behind you, you will be able to speak with more authority at meetings, contribute more in the workplace, and better perform those tasks that pertain to your job description.
So, consider those areas that you are weakest in. Think about those qualifications that might give you more credibility. And then pursue those courses that will improve your standing at work. You will impress your colleagues if you do. Your boss might even consider you for a promotion!
#4: Assert Yourself More Often
We aren’t all brimming with self-confidence. Very few of us enjoy confrontations at work. However, when it comes to being taken more seriously, you might need to assert yourself more. We are talking about having the courage to speak up at meetings, for example, and we are talking about having the ability to stand up for yourself when others put you down.
Be mindful, however. When we talk about being assertive, we aren’t talking about being aggressive. You shouldn’t try to get your point across in meetings in a way that undermines what other people have said. And you shouldn’t bop a work colleague on the nose when they hurt your feelings. Being assertive is about confidently putting your point across, without hurting or alienating others.
So, consider taking an assertiveness class if you need to. Look for courses in conflict management and public speaking if you think they might help increase your confidence. And look online for assertiveness tips, to better help you act and react more confidently at work.
#5: Be a Good Employee
When considering what a ‘good’ employee is, we need to consider the traits of a ‘bad employee.’
A bad employee might turn up late for work every day. They might take more break times than they should, and shirk away from some of their responsibilities. They might make fun of their work colleagues too, talk with disrespect to people in authority, and fail to listen to the advice and instruction that others give them.
Such behaviors are never going to earn respect, so consider what you might do to counter them. Turn up for work on time, and even turn up earlier to showcase your commitment to your job. Work hard, commit to whatever is on your to-do list, and even go the extra mile occasionally to improve the way others perceive you. And be respectful of your colleagues and your boss. When you show respect to them, the more likely it is that they will respect you.
#6: Offer to Help Others
Don’t sit on the sidelines while your work colleagues struggle. Don’t turn down any requests your employer might make for somebody to offer them a lending hand. If you see that somebody needs help, do what is right, and do what you can to assist them.
By offering a hand of support, others will see that you’re a person who cares. They will consider you a person with strong ethics. Provided you don’t help in a way that makes the situation worse for somebody else, you should be treated with more respect while you’re at work.
#7: Improve Your Body Language
You won’t earn a lot of respect if you’re forever in a slouched position. And you won’t earn a lot of respect if you avoid eye contact or if you’re always fidgeting.
To get taken more seriously, you need to show assertiveness with your body language. This means standing or sitting up straight with your head held high, and by giving people eye contact when they are speaking to you. You should master your handshake too, as a good, firm grip is better than something that is overly weak or overly powerful.
People will sense a greater degree of confidence in you if your body presents itself well, so even if you have to ‘fake it until you make it,’ practice your power pose until you have perfected it.
#8: Curb Your Emotions
We’re all emotional beings, so it’s understandable that we might sometimes get angry or offended occasionally. However, when it comes to the workplace, we sometimes have to curb our emotions before they get the better of us.
So, if you get offended, resist the urge to lash out or storm out of the room. And try not to burst into tears, as people might fail to take you seriously if you do. When somebody does something that rubs you up the wrong way, try to maintain your composure. Practice these breathing exercises if you need to calm down in a hurry, and leave the room (in a respectful way) if you have to, as you will then have the opportunity to avoid any embarrassing situation instigated by your emotions.
#9: Deliver on Your Promises
If you tell your colleague you will do something for them, do it! If you promise to complete a task for your boss, get on with it. When you deliver on your promises to others, they will begin to treat you with more respect. If you failed to deliver, on the other hand, especially on a regular basis, you would fail to convince them to trust you.
Of course, there will be times when you can’t deliver on something. It might be because of a time-related issue, or it might be because the task was too difficult. However, you can pre-empt this at the beginning with honesty. If you suspect you won’t have time to do something, or if you think the task might be beyond your capability, say so. This is better than not following through on your promises later when your credibility as a person could be at risk.
By following these steps, people should take you more seriously. You might then enjoy your time at work more, and if you are looking for a promotion, you might well be in the running the next time an opportunity arises!
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