“Respect is like air. When it’s there, you don’t notice it. When it’s not there, it’s all you notice.”
Quote from, “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High”
As many of you know, I do a lot of work with support professionals—administrative assistants, executive assistants, office managers, and so on. This is a group that has traditionally been so overlooked and under-appreciated, the corporate world now has an annual holiday dedicated to acknowledging them–Admin Appreciation Day, which just took place in April.
Notice that we don’t have an Attorney Appreciation Day or a Financial Planner Appreciation Day, or a day devoted to any other professional group (aside from Teachers…another often undervalued field). Admin Day has caught on because this role is incredibly demanding and yet, as a support function, it inherently happens behind the scenes. Admins are often seen as the invisible heroes of the workplace.
One of the most common complaints I hear from admins is that they aren’t respected at work. Their role is frequently belittled and, as a result, the people doing this work are often treated as inferior.
But of course, this isn’t just a problem in the admin world; many professionals at all levels and in all fields struggle with the same thing.
Let me be clear: Everyone deserves to feel respected at work. However, there are things we may do (or not do) that unintentionally signal to people that we are not worthy of their respect. We send messages through our words, our behaviors and even our thoughts, that tell people how to treat us.
If you’re not getting the respect you want and deserve at work, I encourage you to do some self-reflection. Instead of being the victim, consider what YOU can do to change the situation.
I realize that statement might make some people mad. I’ve been accused in the past of “victim blaming,” especially when it comes to things like workplace bullying. Please know that this isn’t my intention. I merely want to give people the tools they need to improve their circumstances. If all we do is sit back, complain, blame others for treating us badly, and expect the higher-ups to somehow change the dynamic on our behalf, we’re going to be sorely disappointed. It’s not fair, but it’s how the world works.
I believe we have a responsibility to ourselves to teach others what is acceptable treatment and what is unacceptable. I believe we have a lot of power to improve how people behave toward us. We can’t necessarily control what others say and do, but we can influence them.
In this month’s free webinar, I’ll share some specific things you can do to get more respect at work—from your co-workers, superiors, clients and everyone in between. If this is an area where you struggle, I hope you’ll join us! [Read more…]