No More Mr. Nice Guy: How to Gain Respect From Your Co-workers

There’s at least one in every workplace. The “nice” employee who always treats everyone with respect and kindness. Yet, this is often the person who also gets no respect from co-workers nor does he or she get any true career satisfaction. In fact, so-called nice employees are often those who get walked on by other less nice employees and management. If you’ve found yourself in this position, then it’s time for a new attitude and the respect you deserve.

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Being nice at work – is it really worth it?

It’s one thing to be well-regarded by peers; it’s another to become a doormat. Oftentimes, employees who fall into this trap do so of their own accord. Generally, it’s out of a need to be liked by others in the workplace. But over time, an employee who is used to always saying “yes” and being sweet to everyone else becomes resentful of the less than respectful behaviors of colleagues. Likewise, the employee’s supervisor may not see leadership qualities in an employee who cannot stand up to others – meaning there are lost opportunities for career advancement.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to me.

It’s a basic human need to be part of a group, but it’s also a strong need to be respected by peers. Being respected can create a sense of being needed and valued by others. At work, being respected also means being heard, validated, and looked up to as a skilled professional. While some think respect has to be earned, actually all employees are worthy of respect from their co-workers, bosses, and even customers. No one can be happy or productive when subjected to disrespect all the time at the office. This is why niceness has to go!

Are you too nice?

Maybe you are not sure if you are being overly nice while at work. There’s a good chance that simply by reading this article, either you or someone you know is used and abused by co-workers. 

It’s time to ask yourself: Is your need to be nice is truly serving your goals in your career, or making your life a living nightmare?

If you are too nice, you may find yourself continually taking on tasks of others and being afraid to say “no” for fear of rejection. You may feel underappreciated and that your manager never recognizes the work you do. You may even make personal and professional sacrifices just to make others happy. Being disrespected at work means no one values your opinion or even asks you what you think.

How to stop being so nice and gaining respect at work.

In order to regain the respect you need in your job, you don’t have to go to extremes. It’s a matter of transforming your attitude and your self-esteem. Here are some tips for being overly nice and getting back the respect you ought to have at work.

#1 – Respect Yourself First

If you want to get respect from others, you need to understand what it means to practice self-respect. Take the time to create more work-life balance that includes plenty of self-care and being nice to yourself. Stop the conflict between what you want to do and what you are stuck doing at work for others. Learn to speak affirming words over yourself.

#2 – Demonstrate Respect and Assertiveness to Others

People learn by example. This means you will have to teach them all over again what respecting you and others looks like. Start by demonstrating respect and assertiveness to your manager, your co-workers, and your customers without all the sugary talk and overtly nice behavior. Just be professional and direct.

#3 – Learn to Say “No” Sometimes

Being nice is often caught up with being a pushover when it comes to work tasks. Try this: next time a co-worker asks you to do one of their tasks, let them know that you have a lot on your plate already and when you get your own tasks completed and IF you have time, you can help. Otherwise, advise that there may be someone else who can get to it sooner.

#4 – Sometimes Less Becomes More

When it comes to dealing with difficult co-workers who try to walk all over you by demanding you do things for them or show you little to no respect, it’s time to cut them off. Never let anyone take advantage of your sunny personality by being rude, obnoxious, or aggressive. Simply, hear them out, and then in a professional manner let them know you no longer tolerate unprofessionalism around you and will only take on tasks that relate to your job as assigned by your immediate supervisor.

As you put these methods into practice, you can expect to feel a certain degree of guilt and worry for a little while. This is completely normal because you are learning new ways to handle things. There’s nothing wrong with being nice and being cordial towards your colleagues, but there should always be limits to this. Take the time to carefully weigh each and every situation you encounter at work and decide for yourself if being too nice is hurting your chances of career success.

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