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How to Get Your Boss to Respect You

Do you ever feel like your Boss barely even notices that you’re there, never mind actually acknowledges your achievements?

Earn your Boss' respect

Do you ever feel like your Boss barely even notices that you’re there, never mind actually acknowledges your achievements?

Do you wish your Boss would listen to you? Maybe they just don’t respect you. It’s not as uncommon as you think. Respect is the most sought after value in the workplace, yet the majority of the workforce goes to work on a daily basis feeling disrespected and undervalued. It is extremely hard to develop and grow in a role, and organisation if you feel undervalued, disrespected or as if you are simply going through the motions because you are not acknowledged or respected. Feeling respected is linked with growth, thriving in a situation and progression.


7 Signs your Boss doesn’t respect you

1. They cut you off mid-sentence frequently, or dismiss your ideas with no explanation.

2. They avoid your meetings or cancel your 1-2-1s.

3. They ask another team member to accompany you to your meetings.

4. They take extra time to review every piece of your work, extra critically.

5. They don’t assign you to any high profile, exciting projects.

6. They assign you insignificant projects, which frequently get cancelled.

7. They constantly seem to move the goalposts on you and your projects.


12 Ways to get more respect from your Boss

1. Play the support role. Unless you are the top dog, your role is to support your Boss, to make them look good, and to make their life easier. Don’t take problems to the Boss without at least proposing a solution, that’s what you are there for. If you’re stuck about how you can help, ask yourself this question, ‘What can I do today to support them, to ease the burden of their role?’

For example, perhaps your Boss is really swamped with deliverables but they also have a new hire on board who is asking a lot of questions. You could volunteer to help the new team member out by showing them the ropes, freeing up time for your Boss to meet their deadlines, the added advantage is, you will get to know your new colleague at the same time.

2. Understand their Leadership style. Even if you think they don’t have a leadership style and are more of a dictator, you can still use this to your advantage. By learning their values, communication style, patterns and moods, you will more easily understand when and how to approach them. For example, do certain meetings make them short tempered? How can you ease this mood? Can you ease the pressure by helping to prepare the meeting packs? Can you take on other tasks leading up to these meetings, so that they have more time to focus on the meeting? It’s up to you to discover their style; you need to fit with their style, not them with yours.

3. Look at the relationship from the Boss’s point of view. Establish the boundaries of your responsibilities and authority early on. Know what you are allowed to sign off, approve or agree to. Do not assume anything, just because you have a title of “Director” doesn’t mean you have the authority to agree to whatever you like, make sure you know where the boundary of authority lies. If you can’t work it out, ask your colleagues for their experiences of what worked well.

Perhaps you have responsibility for the department, or a project, but your Boss has ultimate responsibility for the budget, this would mean that you probably need to propose some solutions which don’t involve you immediately jumping on a plane to Hong Kong for a 1-hour meeting, especially given that you are trying to earn their respect.

4. Treat those in a higher position than you with respect. Respect has already been earned, you don’t have to respect the individual but you do have to respect the role. If you’re saying to yourself, “Respect must be earned”, you’re right, respect is earned… YOU have to earn it, they already have, that’s why they are the Boss and you are not. The Boss controls much of what happens to you at work, like bonuses, flexi-time arrangements, holiday sign-off, performance reviews, and objective setting for the year.

5. Bring good energy.

“Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be” ~ Abraham Lincoln

You are not a victim of circumstance; you are the architect of choices. Think about the energy you are bringing to the table, are you filled with joy or are you filled with jadedness? Whatever your response, others can feel this, just like you can feel their energy. Have you ever felt like someone who is in your presence is just a fun sponge? Where they suck every ounce of happiness, playfulness and delight out of the room and leave it feeling dry and depressing like a desert? These people also tend to have bad luck following them around like a bad smell. On the other hand, you may have encountered someone who is an energetic blessing, where being around them makes you feel light, happy, playful and at ease. These people are memorable and the world seems to acquiesce to their every whim and desire. In either scenario, this is no coincidence because like energy attracts like energy.

Ask yourself, how am I showing up today? What energy am I bringing to each and every situation? How do I want this situation to feel? Bring high energy and passion to your work; if you can’t then perhaps you need to re-evaluate the choices you have been making to lead you to this point.

6. Keep them informed. Trust me they not keeping a list of your accomplishments, that’s your job. It is not their job to read your mind, even if it were possible. This applies to all situations in life, not just in the office. Just keep it concise. Don’t waste their time with waffling, know what the objective is, deliver it and then get out of the way.

If you receive an email from a stakeholder or customer thanking you or praising you, feel free to forward that on to your Boss, let them know that you and your efforts are being well received and then file it for easy retrieval at review time.

If you are making progress on a project, let them know in your one-to-one. If you have come up against a hurdle or a difficult stakeholder who is not relenting, don’t wait tell your Boss as soon as is realistically possible, do not let this be a surprise they are ambushed with it in the hallway.

7. Build relationships with your team and stakeholders. Your Boss will be getting feedback from those around you about you, including how well you fit in. Make sure the feedback is favourable by being the conscientious colleague. And be careful with office gossip, you can’t trust everybody to hold your confidence and no one likes a gossip.

There’s nothing wrong with having a ‘chat around the watercooler’, in fact recent studies have shown that interacting with your colleagues in this way builds rapport and increases the positive energy in the environment, but make sure it is kept neutral and positive when you are around and do not gossip about your colleagues or Boss, there are plenty of subjects you can cover without being the Office Meanie.

8. Be trustworthy. Your Boss relies on you to maintain confidentiality, integrity, reliability, timeliness. Be intentional in your actions.

For example, don’t share confidential information with anyone who is not authorised to view it. I like to think about it like this, if it was your bank account details and home address, would you like it if someone left them on a coffee shop counter for just anyone to see? When it comes to selling items, how would you feel if someone sold a faulty electric heater (or an extremely high-risk investment) to your favourite granny and she used it every single day, putting her life (or her life savings) at risk?

If it feels wrong, then you know it is going against your values and you should not be doing it, which will allow you to act from a place of integrity and intention.

9. Be proactive. Don’t wait to be told what to do and offer help to your colleagues if you have the time. This builds further trust and will encourage them to help you in future; you’re all in this together.

Often you will hear people (usually at the watercooler) moaning that they have too much to do or nothing to do, if only those with “nothing to do” would take the initiative to help those with too much to do, everyone would achieve balance.

Occasionally, those with “too much to do” just need to stop walking around telling everyone how busy they are, they would save themselves an awful lot of time. Remember, your Boss is not psychic but they certainly do notice the behaviours of both the proactive and the procrastinator.

10. Adopt an attitude and love for continuous improvement and lifelong learning. Be reflective of your actions and strive to improve where you can and engage actively in learning the things you need to know. Even if it means paying for it yourself. Showing initiative and a desire to learn, especially at your own expense, shows your Boss that you are serious about developing yourself and your skills. Maybe your remit does not currently include Digital Marketing but you are interested in getting more involved in Marketing activities, you could sign up for a whole host of relatively cheap courses available online, or even gain a much greater understanding of the topics from YouTube videos, which you could mention in your one-to-ones with your Boss, it may not land you a role in Digital Marketing immediately, but they might allow you to spend some time working on projects which do pique your interest. It is very rare for a Boss not to respect, if not admire initiative.

11. Get over yourself! You are not entitled to anything more than your contract stipulates. You have to earn the extras. You do the adjusting, not your Boss.

12. Don’t take anything personally. Business is business, life moves fast and sometimes Boss’ are short tempered or snap at you because they are having a bad day, just like you. Maybe their train was inexplicably delayed so they were late for a meeting, even though they left home 30 minutes earlier than usual. Maybe the Barista put the wrong milk in their coffee and now they don’t feel well and it’s month end, who knows the reason but we all have bad days, it’s human.

Try not to take it to heart. Understanding your Boss and their values, actions, behaviours will give you a fair idea of what to expect and how best to handle them. Ask yourself, is it just the process or is it personal? It is only personal when you are treated noticeably differently to other members of the team, perhaps all your meeting requests are declined or your Boss actively avoids you and only you. A point to remember is that perception will govern your view of whether or not it only happens to you, so do make sure you are not over-reacting. If you are certain that it is personal, make an appointment with HR and follow company protocol. If it is just the process, move on.

You cannot force anyone to respect you, all you can do is make conscious decisions and take consistent, positive action to earn their respect. By following the 11 principles above, your Boss will certainly look at you in a different light and be more inclined to trust you with more responsibility. Remember, with greater responsibility comes greater reward.

What’s next? Feel like you need more help? Pop me a message to have a chat to see how I can support you in your leadership career and growth. Or, if you already know that you want to dive deeper and master your leadership communication (my personal speciality) book your session here. There are only a handful of spots available at this price.

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