Whether you’re starting a new job, vying for a promotion, or simply worried that your coworkers don’t really take you seriously, it’s time to examine your behavior to see if there’s a clear source for your woes. If you do these 5 things at work, you’ll be more likely to be taken seriously.
1. Carefully Observe: No matter how good your ideas, opinions, and contributions are, they could be overlooked if they’re not presented in the right way. The best way to understand the preferred method of communication, the kinds of presentations that are taken seriously, and the language you should use when discussing key issues is to observe carefully. Listen closely to your coworkers to get an understanding of the knowledge gaps that are present that you may need to bridge or other areas where your own communication and efforts aren’t aligning with what works well at this company.
2. Mirror What you See: Once you’ve observed and listened carefully, it’s time to mirror what you see! Mold your behaviors to mirror those of the people who are taken more seriously in the office. No, you don’t have to become a completely different person, but you can try out their methods to see if they’re just as successful for you.
3. Embrace Complexity: If you’re just starting out in a position or looking at a job you’d like to be promoted to, you may start to observe inefficiencies, issues, and other things you would change. Rather than pitching those ideas right out of the gate, it’s time to embrace complexity. Some systems exist within a company because the represent a compromise. They may not be the best way of doing things, but they may be the best the clients, your bosses, the users, and/or your coworkers could agree upon. Take time to understand the complexities of things so, when you do share your ideas and opinions, they’re carefully thought out and immediately seen as valuable.
4. Always Follow Through: One of the best things you can do to be taken seriously is to always follow through. If you’re assigned a task, you complete it. If you say you’re going to do something, you do it. If you say you’re going to show up at a certain time, you do. The consistency of your follow through will be noticed over time and you’ll be seen as more reliable and certainly taken seriously.
5. Set Clear Boundaries: If you feel like you’re not being taken seriously and are, instead, being steamrolled, it may be time to set clear boundaries. Whether it’s a boss who is rejecting your work but isn’t giving constructive feedback, a coworker who always talks over you when you try to pitch ideas, or another situation where you feel boundaries would benefit you, it’s time to set them and set them clearly. Ask for what you need, express what isn’t working, and explain what you are and are not willing to do to rectify the situation.
If you want to be taken seriously at work, start out by doing these 5 things. If you’ve implemented them all and haven’t found any success after some time has passed, the problem could stem from a toxic work environment or coworkers and leadership you don’t really mesh with. If that’s the case, you can stick it out a little longer or start your search for a better job here.