For any human being, there are a number of desirable traits and characteristics, both tangible and intangible. We may desire to be strong, supportive, compassionate, athletic, intelligent, trendy, mature, responsible, punctual, efficient, or fiscally effective. There are, however, certain attributes that must be granted by others, rather than provided solely of our own efforts. For example, many people want to be trustworthy, but it takes a second person to trust to begin with.
Another important denominator is respect. Especially in the workplace, respect is a quintessential ingredient to forming a well-rounded reputation in the office. It can be the simplest signal that separate lower from upper management, and can be wielded as a tool used to garner greater returns.
But how does one gain respect from his or her peers? Although there are many schools of thoughts (and self-help books to match) on the subject, every person’s experience is different, and many will achieve radically differing paths through which they initially gained respect. Fortunately though, there is some common ground to work with in general tips that most can keep in mind in order to know how to gain respect at work.
Economies work because newer and better ideas are constantly being released to the market, whether in products that create demand through original design, or improvements in manufacturing goods, or services that fulfill a creative niche. Although many workers can simply follow the day-to-day task of completing a to-do list given by their superiors, a truly respectable worker is one who finds smart new ways to solve problems, hone better processes, and generally contribute fresh thinking into a stale environment.
There is a lot to be said about being a “hard worker” or having a “strong work ethic,” but it genuinely is astounding how much of a gap there is between the productivity of the lazy underachievers and the output of those truly willing to invest their best efforts into their job. No employer wants to deal with employees that cannot meet quotas or even perform simple tasks, and the average Joe or Jane can ritually meet the standard job requirements. What is sincerely valued, though, and worthy of respect, are those who go the extra mile to not only get the job done, but to do it at a higher quality. Those who show a disciplined, consistent effort to put in work of high quality and efficiency are definitely going to be respected more than the slackers that just do the bare minimum and head home.
Yet, when all is said and done, perhaps the most effective manner of how to gain respect at work is simply to first offer it to others. By respecting others, displaying proper professionalism, and conducting yourself in an admirable way, you have already gained a step in the perspective of your peers. Those who gossip behind backs, insult their co-workers openly, show slovenly or sloppy work, or generally do not show any concern for their behavior or work ethic, these are the people who will find it difficult to garner respect. But to start by first exemplifying the worker you respect in return will work much better than disrespecting those around you.