In the minefield of office politics, gaining the true respect of your colleagues, your subordinates and your boss is a true achievement. It can be difficult — but if you succeed — the benefits are numerous. Here are some tips for gaining more respect in the workplace (and in life in general).
1. The Only True Respect Is Mutual Respect
Take a moment and think of a few people that you have respect for. Are any of them people who don’t respect you in return? Or, if they’re people you haven’t actually met in person, are there any that you feel would not treat you with respect if you were to meet them? If you answered “no” (and I hope you did), then I’ll take that as point made. If you answered “yes”, then I want you to think about it again. It’s easy to confuse respect with admiration, envy, or even fear. If the respect isn’t mutual…then it’s one of them in disguise.
2. Practice What You Preach
I once had a job where I supervised 30 or so people in a retail business. My boss used to sit in his office all day, rarely showing his face on the sales floor. He also used to ride me constantly about making sure the staff were productive when it wasn’t busy, but when he made his infrequent jaunts out of his office, he acted like Steve Carell’s character on the TV show The Office (cracking jokes, goofing around and keeping people from their work). I think you can probably guess how much respect he had from his employees: very, very, little. The moral of this story is that if you are a leader, then leading by example builds respect.
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