Have you ever been in a work situation that required you quickly earn your colleagues’ respect? No pressure there. I can think of a couple scenarios where it would be imperative, especially if you want to be successful.
· You’re a new hire who will be supervising current employees.
· You’re a recent graduate/new professional.
To me, those could be potential no-win situations. Sure, you might eventually gain respect, but that could be in an unpredictable time-frame. To gain respect is inherent in establishing credibility. It’s also important to be able to distinguish between “I have to do what you say” and “I respect you and value your role.” Here are some suggestions to earn that respect.
Set the Tone
First impressions are lasting so don’t come in with guns blazing, but don’t be forgettable either. The best tone to set professional and confident. Even if you’re scared to death and think you don’t have a clue, your audience will assume you are competent until proven otherwise.
If you’re a recent graduate or new to your profession, you’ll have a harder proving ground than others, as people may assume new = no knowledge. It’s true you may not have much experience, but act like you know your area well. Demonstrate that you are willing to learn from more seasoned staff.
Listen and Learn
Most of us have worked in a setting when someone new comes in and wants to change the way everything is done. It’s not a very effective leadership model and a recipe for resentment and even sabotage from the current staff. It’s critical that you get a lay of the land before jumping in. Get people’s take on everything, be quiet and ask questions.
Walk the Walk
One of the surest ways to gain respect is to walk the walk. Don’t make empty promises or end up not delivering the work because you overextended. People judge you by your actions, often more than your words. Be reliable, dependable and keep your word.
Written by regular Jobacle contributor Nancy LaFever. Find more of her critical thinking on her blog, where she overanalyzes the bizarre grocery shopping lists of the single demographic.