How to Find R-E-S-P-E-C-T at Work

January 13, 2016

Career Advice

10563493286_6aa1ce18aa_zAretha Franklin knew what she was talking about when she sang R-E-S-P-E-C-T. In the work world, this is a word that carries a lot of weight. If you are a respected employee you will likely get a lot further in your career than if you are not.

Remember what it was like in high school—while some teachers were “cooler” than others, you always respected the teacher who was fair. You respected the teacher who knew how to keep the class in line. You respected the teacher who said hello and acknowledged you in the hallways. You respected the teacher who offered assistance when you needed it. It was those teachers who set an example of what makes a proper authority figure, and you saw first hand that being liked was different than being respected.

It’s similar in the work world. Everyone wants to be liked, just as they did in high school, and that has merit, but earning respect is what’s going to keep you moving up in your career. When you realize this is when you’re able to begin to create the boundaries necessary to move your career to the next level.

If you are eventually looking for a raise, a promotion, or even just a more positive review from your boss, you have to start by changing your behavior to elicit respect. Here’s what this involves:

  • knowing when to talk with colleagues and when to get down to business
  • steering clear of office gossip
  • mentoring your colleagues when they need it
  • displaying leadership qualities like problem solving under pressure with grace
  • illustrating that you can follow through and you can lead a team to completion
  • choosing the appropriate communication for the situation (e-mail, phone calls, texts, in person)
  • volunteering to step into a leadership role or take on larger projects
  • showing you’re confident during all of your tasks

Your colleagues may not understand why you’ve made such a choice. They may feel snubbed when they notice you are no longer socializing with them as you once did or participating in office gossip. But, drawing that line and creating the boundaries between respect and like could give you a boost in a pool of employees that are just going through the motions.

If you can regularly remind yourself why you are there, why you have this job, and what your goals are, you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping the parameters set and being respected by your co-workers and managers.

Image via Patrick Marioné/Flickr

About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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