Sure, we may not love our co-workers, and sure, they may not love us—but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to earn their respect.
Having it not only helps us get ahead in our careers (a.k.a., people think of you when opportunities pop up), but also helps us be more productive every day. Because truth talk: When no one respects you, it’s hard to convince people to back your idea, or pitch in on a project, or even listen to you in meetings.
So, how do you command respect in the office? It’s actually easy to do if you practice these five key habits.
1. Validate Others’ Opinions
In the same way you want someone to back you up when you’re proud of an idea, people will respect you if you stand up for them when they share their own thoughts—especially when no one else speaks up.
In fact, this is exactly how women in the White House prevented each other from being interrupted during President Obama’s presidency. If someone’s point went ignored, they repeated it and credited it to the original thinker.
You can easily copy this trick—it’s as simple as saying “I actually like Jerry’s idea, and it’s pretty feasible—all we’d have to do is XYZ.”
2. Help Out When You Can
OK, a little obvious, but being a team player is an instant hit with most people.
So, if you see someone struggling, offer to help them out. If you notice an assignment lagging behind its deadline (even if it’s on a different team), ask if there’s anything you can do. If others are staying late while you’re heading out right at 6 PM, stick around for a bit and ask if anyone needs assistance. Even if you get turned down, you’ll still be remembered as someone your co-workers can count on.
3. Speak With Confidence, Not Cockiness
People who command respect stand by their beliefs—not because they’re always right, but because they believe in doing the best for the company. They don’t dismiss other people’s opinions (in fact, they welcome opposing views), but when they know the best solution for everyone, they’re not afraid to state it—and state it with confidence.
But that doesn’t mean they brag when everything goes well. Rather than boast about their success and shine the spotlight back on themselves, they use what they learned to further improve their team’s efforts.
4. Avoid Complaining
Nobody likes a whiner, especially in a professional setting. Don’t protest when things don’t go your way, or your boss is demanding a lot from you, or you’re assigned an especially difficult project. Perservering shows that you’re up for challenges and won’t give up when when things get hard.
That’s not to say you can’t voice feedback or offer up honesty when the situation merits it, but rather that you should understand when you’re bringing up a valid concern or just venting.
5. Do Your Job (Well)
Finally, the easiest trick in the book—do your job, and do it well. Work hard, meet deadlines, be an open communicator, go beyond your job description every once in a while, and there’s no reason people won’t admire you and what you do for the company.
If you’re already doing all of these and still can’t get people to respect you. Well, you just may be guilty of these seven common mistakes.
But assuming that’s not the case, you can start putting these into practice right away and changing everyone’s image of you for the better.