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How To Earn the Respect of Your Colleagues

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  • Show up early or at least on time every day. Unless you’ve been in a car accident or had to make arrangements so that a sick child is cared for, showing up late says: “Your time is not as valuable as mine” or “I don’t honor the agreement we have.” If you’re late on a regular basis, don’t expect to be given great assignments or to get that promotion. Your actions communicate that you don’t want those things—or you want them without having to work for them. No one likes to advance those who seem to be in it only for themselves and sooner or later those who want the goodies and don’t honor the team are usually found out.
  • Do what you say you will every time. Be careful what you promise because once you’ve committed to something you should hold yourself accountable to following through. Are you often asking for an extension to your deadline or—worst—making excuses for why one of your duties isn’t done?  If so, the time to do something about this is NOW.
  • Accept others’ observations even if they’re not true & especially if it has to do with you!  Sometimes there’s at least a kernal of truth in what someone says. But let’s say you’re dealing with someone who’s completely off their rocker. Your best bet is still to acknowledge what they’re saying or else they’ll never hear a single word out of your mouth. Chances are that you’ll be more well received after you start by calmly listening to whatever the person is saying. Earn trust by cultivating an attitude of receptiveness to others even when you firmly disagree.
  • Acknowledge your mistakes (to others, when necessary, but—most importantly—to yourself). After you’ve made an error, take the shame you’ll probably feel and ask yourself: is there something I can do to recover the situation? It may be simply to say that you’re sorry and it won’t happen again but there may be some additional clean-up that can be done to mitigate the effects of your error.
  • Stay on your toes no matter what. Sometimes people who feel they’re at the top of their game—or who have been in a job so long that they believe they can’t be fired get complacent. Remember what legendary investor Warren Buffet said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Indeed. There have been times when I was pulling late nights and I thought my boss won’t mind (what I really meant was: shouldn’t mind) if I come in just a few minutes late. So one morning I came in a few minutes late. Not only was I suffering from a feeling of self-righteous indignation tinged with justification (I’m working so hard…what difference does it make if I come in a few minutes late?) mixed with anxiety (will he notice?), but sure enough he did notice and commented. The cognitive dissonance of this situation was so not worth having a few measly extra minutes to myself.  Do the right thing.  If you need time off, be up front with your supervisor about your request.  Don’t resort to being sneaky.