Earning Respect at Work: 10 Essential Characteristics

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If you believe people at work will automatically respect you because of your accomplishments, position, or family relationships – nothing could be further from the truth

Earning respect: Why is it important?

Earning respect is essential to your job success and career opportunities.

You may be a business owner, working to increase quality and productivity. You may be a middle manager seeking further advancement. Perhaps you started as an entry-level employee a few months ago, and are now under consideration for your first promotion.

In any case, you’ll need the respect of those with whom you work to succeed and continue your advancement.

Best selling author and professional speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman, said it this way, “It boils down to a simple formula. REPUTATION + CHARACTER = RESPECT. You earn the RESPECT of others when your public REPUTATION and private CHARACTER are above reproach. And you’ve got to have both.”

In short, if you want the respect of others in your organization, you’re going to have to earn it.

Earning respect: 10 characteristics that will support your efforts

How can you earn the respect you need within your organization? How can you build an outstanding public reputation and demonstrate exceptional personal character? Well, the people you work with are likely to respect someone who models the following characteristics:

  1. Honesty

    You need to be straightforward and truthful about yourself and in your interactions with others. Never misrepresent your skills, abilities, and experiences. These things have helped shape the person you are today. Don’t make promises flippantly. In fact, when you make a promise to someone, treat it as if it’s a binding contract.

  2. Authenticity

    Take pride in who you are and the person you’ve become. Don’t be intimidated by someone else’s opinion or if others disagree with you. Moreover, make sure that you are what you claim to be – nothing more and nothing less.

  3. Integrity

    Working with people reveals your level of integrity. As such, you need to maintain high ethical standards. Likewise, set high standards in your conduct towards others. Honor your organization’s policies and procedures, not because you signed an agreement. Do so because it’s the right thing to do.

  4. Fairness

    Choose to build long-term relationships rather than settling for immediate gains. Strive for win-win outcomes in disputes. If you don’t, and the solution isn’t mutually beneficial, no one wins in that situation. All parties will work to keep a mutually beneficial agreement. Moreover, maintain “The Golden Rule” and treat others the way you would want them to treat you.

  5. Tolerance

    Stay open and receptive to ideas, beliefs, and cultures other than your own. In the process, learn to remain objective. Consistently try to consider all sides of an issue rather than forcing your personal opinion on others.

  6. Humility

    Stay modest about your achievements. Learn to feel comfortable in your skin and quietly proud of your accomplishments. Furthermore, never assume the credit for any success. Instead, be willing to share the credit with everyone involved.

  7. Compassion

    As you progress in your career, strive to treat others with kindness. Always remember your beginnings and give credit to all those who helped you along the way. Thus, be willing to help those in need of some support or a second chance.

  8. Knowledge

    You may be a brilliant individual, but don’t give the impression that you’re a know-it-all. Make sure the managers and employees who work with you know they can count on your job-related knowledge. Furthermore, keep learning and continue to improve your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

  9. Personal responsibility

    Take responsibility for your career rather than feeling your employer owes you something. Choose to be proactive at work. Set your goals high and make the commitment and sacrifice required to succeed.

    What’s more, accept the consequences of your choices. Specifically, if things go south, don’t blame others or make excuses. Instead, make other choices while remaining positive and getting the job done.

  10. Quality associations

    Carefully choose the people and organizations with whom you associate. Do so knowing that you win or lose the respect of others based on the company you keep. Therefore, refuse to compromise on the character of your associations, even for the sake of sales or bottom line profits.

Earning respect: It begins with you!

So, if you want to earn the respect of those with whom you work, it’s essential that your reputation and character remain above reproach. Adopt the characteristics that will help you earn their respect.

Sure, you’ll make some mistakes, and you even may lose some support along the way. However, overcoming your mistakes represents another opportunity to earn the respect of those around you. One thing is sure; you’ll always know that you gave your best effort to build your reputation and character. In the final analysis, that effort deserves respect.

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About the Author: David Cox

David Cox is a Co-owner of TPB Business Copyediting. He writes to encourage us to apply our multidisciplinary training and experiences to develop our current career role further.