Picture the hallway of your workplace. Many people are working, going about their daily jobs. The boss walks into one of the rooms, sees a schedule on the wall and starts yelling “Who changed this? Why wasn’t I told about this?”
He turns to a person working there and says, in an aggressive tone and high volume, “Why didn’t you call me? I should have known about this! Let me tell you something, if you don’t respect me, I will never respect you!”
In one form or another, probably everyone has dealt with a boss like this, at least once in their career. Aggressive bosses just have a very specific way of demanding respect.
You might think to yourself “I’ve done everything right, why does he think that I don’t respect him?”
Regardless of whether that boss was right to do so or not, he did it. And you may be on the other end, receiving it. Since you can’t alter or change the boss’ behavior, what can you do to show the boss that you respect them?
1. Determine what Respect Means
Some bosses, when they demand respect, actually want to be treated as an authority figure within the office, which they are, to an extent. Others see respect in the form of honesty.
You have to figure your boss out, and determine where they stand on this scale.
It doesn’t mean that you have to kneel down before your boss and kiss their ring, but it can give you a general direction by which to approach the situation.
The easiest way to do this is to see how other people in the office treat your boss, and how he or she treats them in return.
2. Respect the Position
Like them or not, your boss is your boss. And you do have to show respect, if not for any reason apart from the fact that in every company and organization there is a hierarchy, and they are in a higher position than you are.
If you have a problem with your boss’ personality, just set it aside. Try to remember that you are dealing with them in a professional capacity, and you are addressing a position above yours.
3. Get it Done
Ultimately you are all there to do a job. There are tasks to be done, and the person in charge cares the most about how and when it’s done.
Aside from being the best thing to do for yourself, in the sense that it will certainly help your career, getting stuff done is the best way for your boss to notice you and treat you with respect.
Also, doing what you are supposed to do is a form of respecting your boss and the company you work for.
4. Don’t Be a Yes-man (Express Your Opinion)
Although many people may confuse respect with obedience, being a yes-man to your boss can only get you so far. On the other hand, expressing your opinion can make you respected as well. But be careful.
There are times when you can express your opinion and there are times when you should say yes to something, even if you don’t agree with it.
Challenging the leading figure’s authority is a big no-no, and can (and will) be seen as disrespectful.
However, proposing an idea in a private setting and a respectful manner will always be seen as a genuine desire to help the company and a mark of respect towards the boss.
5. Be Loyal
Don’t whine about your boss to co-workers.
If you go behind their back and talk to co-workers about how much you don’t like your boss, or what you think about their incompetent ways, you can never be certain that the other co-worker thinks the same and that your words will never reach the boss’ ears.
You may get away with it once or twice, but they will find out eventually and see this as the ultimate form of disrespect.
6. Express Appreciation
There must be something your boss does right. Express appreciation for this, because most people only hear about what’s wrong.
Also, everybody likes to hear that they are appreciated when they do good work, no matter what their position is.
But never be a suck up either! Sucking up is a very transparent activity, and if you express insincere appreciation for something, your boss will know.
But honest and true appreciation will show a great deal of respect.
7. Look at the Situation from their Point of View
Remember that your boss probably has quite a few workers to think of at once.
But you only have one boss, so it would be much easier for you to try to see the situation as they see it, instead of complaining how they don’t understand what you are dealing with.
Looking in the mirror and feeling sorry for yourself will neither get your job done, nor will it do much good for your career.
Understanding why certain things are done a certain way will help broaden your perspective. This can even make getting negative feedback more bearable.
8. Don’t Take Criticism Personally
While on the subject of negative feedback, it is good to mention that you’d be better off not taking it personally.
We all know that nobody likes getting negative feedback, and it can ruin your day, but just remember that you are not a bad person or a bad worker just because you’ve received negative feedback, just as the person who’s giving it is not a bad person just for giving negative feedback.
Don’t see this as an attack on your person, and don’t see the provider of feedback as an attacker that should be defended against.
Doing this will help you see your boss in a different light, and maybe make it easier to implement all that is said above.
As a summary, bosses can be good and they can be bad. They can be a wonderful or a horrible person. But feeling respected is something that nobody wants, regardless of who they are.
Be respectful and you’re more likely to be respected in return.