How to Get People to Take You Seriously at Work


Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Feeling like you're not being respected at work can be frustrating. Here’s what you can do about it.

Article 4 Minutes
How to Get People to Take You Seriously at Work

Everyone wants to be taken seriously at work, regardless of your job title, the nature of your responsibilities and your level of seniority.

Feeling like you don't have the respect of your colleagues and managers can make it difficult even to come into work every day, let alone perform to a high level and achieve your professional goals.

If you find yourself in this situation, take a positive, proactive approach and think about what you can do to gain people's respect and build stronger relationships in the workplace.

1. Treat others as you would like to be treated

To start with, you shouldn't expect your co-workers to take you seriously and treat you with respect if you're not doing the same to them. Being rude, inconsiderate or dismissive towards your colleagues will make it difficult for you to form meaningful and positive connections. You'll soon find that people stop listening when you speak and don't give any credence to your opinions or contributions.

2. Be confident (but not arrogant)

Confidence can be a positive characteristic, when it's kept in check and not allowed to cross the line into arrogance. If people see that you have faith not only in your own abilities, but in the capacity of your team and the business to reach its goals, they’ll take you more seriously and start to look to you for advice and leadership.

3. Stay humble and be ready to learn

There's a lot to be gained from displaying humility in the workplace and being constantly open to learning new things. Your co-workers should be able to see that you're qualified and competent when it comes to your core responsibilities, but also that you're hungry for knowledge and keen to acquire new skills.

4. Do your homework

Getting people to take you seriously and to really listen when you speak is much easier when you have relevant, interesting and worthwhile things to say. That means you need to be knowledgeable about your area of work and well-prepared for every significant interaction, whether it's a team planning session or a big client meeting.

5. Do the basics well

When you spend a lot of time around the same people at work every day, basic but important things like turning up on time, greeting your co-workers in the morning and speaking to people politely - regardless of whether they're junior or senior to you - have a big impact on how you're perceived. Sticking to positive everyday habits like these will help to ensure people view you as a good person as well as a professional.

6. Be aware of your body language

Body language could be more important than you think when it comes to projecting a certain image of yourself and gaining respect in the workplace. Bad habits such as failing to make eye contact with co-workers when you pass them in the corridor, walking around with your hands in your pockets and slouching at your desk all send out negative messages that reduce the likelihood of people taking you seriously.

7. Help others

The mission to be taken seriously at work shouldn't be all about focusing on yourself. In fact, one of the most important steps you can take to gain the respect and admiration of your colleagues and managers is to regularly assist other people. Making a special effort to help new recruits settle in and offering to support teams that are facing tough challenges will demonstrate that you're prepared to go the extra mile to get the best results for your co-workers and the business.

8. Avoid gossip

Office gossip is rarely (if ever) a good thing. It's unprofessional and a waste of company time, at best, and at worst, it can lead to serious problems such as workplace bullying, discrimination and harassment. If you want to be taken seriously at work, and also set a positive example to others, avoid gossip at all costs.

9. Be trustworthy

When someone trusts you with a task, you can demonstrate that you should be taken seriously by how effectively and responsibly you execute it. Seize every opportunity to prove yourself by delivering quality work on time. If you can do this, you'll have no problems with getting people to take you seriously and making steady progress in your career.

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