Gaining the Respect of Your Co-workers

It is the goal of every person, and certainly every nurse, to gain the respect of the people around them. Respect is a signifier that you are doing your job correctly and that people appreciate you as a person as well as a nurse. But as we all know, respect is earned and not simply given. And unfortunately, it can be difficult to earn respect if we aren’t willing to make an effort.

If you think of a person you have worked with before that you didn’t respect, consider why. What was it about them that prevented you from giving them respect as a nurse or other staff member? Were they lazy? Rude? Gossipy? There are a huge number of factors that can prevent you from gaining the respect of your coworkers. To combat these, here are a few things you can focus on if you’re trying to gain more respect at work.

  1. Communicate Clearly

A lot of workplace disagreements or conflicts arise from miscommunications or misunderstandings. When you talk with your coworkers, try to be as clear and concise as possible to eliminate the possibility that they might misunderstand what you mean. If you aren’t sure they understood you correctly, ask them to summarize what you’ve told them or asked them to do and take a moment to clarify anything that didn’t come across clearly.

  1. Be Honest

Promises generally come out of good intentions and most people don’t make promises that they have no intention of keeping. However, there are a lot of obstacles that can prevent us from completing a task or filling a role that might be out of our hands. To combat this, try to refrain from making promises too often. For example, if you have a particularly busy day and your supervisor asks you to complete an extra task, you can say: “I can’t promise that I will get it done today, but I will do my very best.” This lets your supervisor know that you don’t want to let them down, either by not completing the task, or by saying you will and not being able to.

  1. Be Free with Praise

One major thing that will help you gain the respect of others is giving credit where credit is due, regardless of how you feel about the person. Recognizing the good work or colleagues and other staff members goes a long way to forming a good professional relationship. Acknowledging others’ skills, talents, and hard work will help them continue to be motivated and they will link those positive feelings with you in their minds. Make sure to be vocal in your praise; hearing the words said out loud will help build morale and gain you the respect you are searching for.

  1. Ask Questions

One of the biggest things you can do to gain the respect of others at work is asking for their advice or input. This will validate them and encourage them to speak up. If you give others space to make their voice heard, they will begin to respect you as a considerate coworker who also respects them.

On a similar note, resist the urge to be a know-it-all. While being knowledgeable in your field does help you gain the respect of those you work with, being a show-off will make others feel badly about themselves. Don’t steal the spotlight from others, especially if they are competent enough in the task. Instead, let them speak for themselves and simply listen to them. Even if you already know what they are telling you, they don’t need to know that; instead, engage them in meaningful conversation and listen to what they have to say.

  1. Keep Learning

It is much easier to respect a person at work if they are good at their job. If you seek to constantly improve yourself at work and increase your knowledge, others will see you as an example of motivation and hard work. Furthermore, you will become a person that others can go to for help. If you continue to offer good advice and can teach your coworkers some things that you are learning, they will come to see you as deserving of their respect.

Likewise, keep learning about yourself and developing your own personality. Picking up hobbies, learning new skills, and having an interesting personal life will encourage others to be well-rounded. If they see you as someone who is competent at their job and also personally fulfilled, they will come to respect you as a wonderful human being.

Final Thoughts

Earning the respect of others is no easy feat, especially in a workplace setting. There will always be disagreements or conflicts, and you may not actually get along with your coworkers. But as long as you treat everyone with dignity, are honest in your dealings with them, and strive to do the right thing, you will find that they will come to respect you.

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