10 Ways to Earn the Respect of Your Colleagues

Early in my career I worked as a manager in a manufacturing plant.

Fresh out of college, it was a challenge managing hourly union employees who were many years older than me.

On top of that my peers were predominantly men which presented a different set of challenges.

Being young and inexperienced, I wanted to be liked by everyone I worked with.

I learned quickly that the first reality of life is that not everyone is going to like you, and the second reality of life is that that’s okay.

What’s important is that you’re respected.

If you’re not respected, everyone in the world can like you but that’s not going to get you very far.

You will miss opportunities to do interesting work and take on more responsibility.

You won’t be included in important decision-making conversations.

You won’t be asked to participate on the teams that are working on the exciting projects.

It’s critical that you earn respect first, and then you will find that you’re likeability factor will increase in the same measure as your respectability.

10 Ways to Earn the Respect of Your Colleagues

1. Do what you say you’re going to do. Nothing puts a blemish on your respectability like not following through on your word. Never commit unless you plan to follow-through.

2. Know your stuff. Make sure that when you open your mouth you know what you’re talking about. People respect knowledge and experience. Knowledge can be duplicated but experience can’t. The combination of the two makes you a respected resource and expert.

3. Do more than expected. Putting in the extra effort shows that you are committed to the success of the team and the work.

4. Shine the spotlight on others. Nothing decreases respect like taking credit for another person’s work or constantly promoting yourself. When you’re willing to give others credit and highlight their contributions, you earn respect.

5. Use names frequently. When you use a person’s name, it makes them feel important. It shows that you’re giving them your undivided attention and care about what they’re saying. Attention is a rare gift in this digital culture.

6. Expect nothing in return. Just do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t keep a tally of who owes you something. It shows a strength of character that’s worthy of respect.

7. Be helpful. Take the time to help others even when it’s not convenient. Many times it won’t be convenient. But when you develop a reputation of helpfulness, you earn respect.

8. Know your colleagues. Take time to know the people you work with on a personal level. Know their personalities and communicate in a way that they understand. Ask about their families, their interests and their lives.

9. Don’t complain, just get the job done. Complaining is toxic. Toxic people are death to the work environment. Be solution-oriented to earn respect.

10. Admit when you’re wrong… quickly. The quickest way to earn respect is to admit when you’re wrong right away. Everyone can move forward once a wrong is acknowledged and forgiven.

Work to earn respect and people will like you for the right reasons.

Copyright © 2017 Kaylene Mathews. All rights reserved.


About Kaylene

Kaylene Mathews, MBA, equips and empowers individuals and groups to gain the clarity they need to achieve their personal and professional best through keynotes, coaching and training services. She authors a weekly blog, and a monthly newsletter. She is currently working on her second book. Her first book is available on Amazon.


  • LaRae Quy says:

    I love your advice—live in such a way that if someone said something bad about you, no one would believe it!

    • Kaylene Kaylene says:

      That quote sums it up neatly! There will always be negative people but when we live with integrity, no one will jump on their band wagon. Thanks for your comment! ~ Kaylene