It can be challenging to accomplish what you want at work when you do not have the respect of others. Maybe it is because you are young or a junior staff member. Maybe it is because you sit in a department that is underfunded or you are in a role that does not get the credit it deserves.
Don’t let circumstances like these prevent you from acting like a C-suite level leader. While you may not have control over your age, level of experience or how others perceive your role, you have control over your behavior. Your behavior, and its impact on others, is powerful.
You have the opportunity to behave like a leader, no matter your circumstances. When you act like a leader, you gain the respect you need to propel your career. Here are seven ways to instantly gain CEO-level respect at work:
Leaders listen. Listening allows for understanding. Author Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” When people feel they have been heard and understood, they will respect you. Leadership is less about your voice and more about elevating the voice of others.
Leaders ask questions to gather information. It is a sign of interest, not stupidity. Ask questions about projects people are working on and how their day is going. When you show interest in others, others will respect you.
When you are speaking or listening, look at the other person. Don’t look at your phone or let your eyes wander. Focus on the other person so they know your attention is on them. Make the person feel valued, and they will respect you.
In meetings, people may say, “let’s talk offline.” This means that they want to speak with you one-on-one and not in a group setting. Talk offline, a lot. Take advantage of the time before and after meetings to speak with individuals one-on-one. Give people the opportunity to voice their perspective, issues and concerns. They will appreciate it.
Everyone deserves respect, whether it is the CEO, the receptionist or the janitor. Leaders lead for all, not just a selective few. If you want to be respected, you need to respect others, too.
No, I don’t mean to touch people inappropriately. Shake people’s hands. When you are greeting or congratulating someone, you can lightly and briefly touch the person’s shoulder or forearm. You see many leaders in government and business do this.
Touch is powerful. Touch is a way to empathize and develop a deeper connection. Touch is not a sign of dominance, it is a sign of connection that can gain you respect.
To gain respect, you do not have to be serious all the time. Smiling reminds people you are human. It is not a sign of weakness. Smiling and showing emotion can make people feel comfortable and help to further develop a deeper connection with others that leaders tap into.
There is no rule against acting like a CEO even when you are not. Writer Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Leverage the opportunity to be the person you want to be to gain the respect you deserve.