What to do if your colleagues do not respect you or even dislike you

What to do if your colleagues do not respect you or even dislike you

| Leadership

Trying to win the respect of people who fundamentally do not want to show you that respect is just a waste of time.

However, when the team's morale begins to suffer from this and the quality of work, something needs to be done urgently. Colleagues are not required to like you and be friends with you, but they are required to treat you as an equal participant in the work process, respect you and take you seriously. If you have recently changed jobs and are experiencing this, or if existing relationships in your team have deteriorated significantly and that worries you and your boss, read this article.

To be loved or not to be loved: Why is this happening?

As a rule, everyone in our lives can be divided into three categories:

  • Those who love you. Most often, these are our family, relatives, and friends. They accept us for who we are, with all our advantages and disadvantages.

  • Those who don't care about you. People with a neutral position towards you, which in most cases include coworkers. They can point out our strengths, or they can point out our weaknesses.

  • Those who treat us negatively. People from the first and second groups can also fall into this group for various reasons. For example, it might be a conflict, unjustified expectations, an incompatibility of characters, etc.

Try to put all of your acquaintances into one of these three categories, starting with close ones. Then, when you get to your colleagues, try to compare them with those close to you and your enemies. You may notice that most coworkers fall into the neutral category, not the negative category, as you first thought.

All people, to one degree or another, are guided by the desire to please others. You must be aware of that desire and determine how justified and rational it is. For example, why do you care so much if your coworkers take you seriously?

  • You are used to the friendliness of a past team and want this one to be the same

  • You are used to being distinguished and feel uncomfortable when someone doesn't notice you or does not appreciate you

  • You had already experienced a similar situation when you were rejected by your team and are now worried it will happen again

  • You began to notice that such an attitude towards you in the team affects your performance and results

Only if the reason is in the last point is it worth starting to work on interpersonal relationships in your team. In all other cases, your belief that you are not respected or not taken seriously is subjective, and you need to work on your perception and not on your relationships with others. Of course, we are not talking about outright bullying or rudeness - if you are experiencing something like this, and not just neglect, this is when you should complain to the management and ask them to interfere.

How to defend your reputation in a team

How to defend your reputation in a team

1. Express disagreement and denials gently

You will encounter a situation where you must express your opinion, which may influence your decision. In no case should you be afraid to speak honestly, even if you want to enlist the team's support. Professionalism is the best way to make the right impression and earn respect. A professional always scrutinizes and makes suggestions.

However, you should not directly reject someone's idea. First, you need to recognize the experience and authority of your colleague and then move on to expressing your position as an option and not the only possible solution. For example, "Anna, it's an exciting proposal, and I liked the first part of it. But I have another idea to help us achieve our goal even faster."

In the same way, it's a good idea to properly phrase a refusal from tasks that they want to dump on you when you don't have time and resources. For example, "I would love to help you with this, but I'm busy with… Maybe next time I can do it. Let's see next month."

2. Deal with negative situations as quickly as possible

If someone mistreats you, you must stop it as soon as possible. You should not brush aside negativity with the thought, "It's nothing. It just happens. People lose their cool sometimes," or let things build up inside you, waiting for a serious conflict. Instead, it's better to nip such things in the bud. For example, if a coworker makes an inappropriate joke about you in a meeting, you should immediately but calmly say, "I don't like jokes like that, and besides, we are at a business meeting. So please refrain from jokes while the meeting is in progress."

The same goes for others taking credit for your actions. If a colleague praises themselves but forgets about you or even takes credit for your work, you should immediately respond, "Yes, Luke did a great job with this task. Thanks to him, I managed to analyze the statistics on time and complete the project." Again, speaking in a calm and even tone is the most important thing. A violent reaction can be perceived as aggression, and this cannot be allowed.

Deal with negative situations as quickly as possible

3. Talk to an unhappy colleague in private

It may surprise you, but when a person is around others, they are often not the same as in private. Perhaps a colleague is joking with you because they are offended by some incident in the past or simply because they hope to earn the approval of the others by doing this and subsequently become the team leader. Wait until there is no one else in the office or meeting room except you and your colleague, or invite them for a cup of coffee to discuss a few business matters. Then, you can say to them, "You are probably acting this way, trying to embarrass me for some reason. But why? What are you trying to accomplish by doing this?"

Note that you need to criticize the colleague's behavior in a question-and-answer format and not blame them or turn into a confrontation like "I don't like this" or "I know that you are jealous of me." Otherwise, the person will begin to defend themselves immediately, and there will be another argument instead of an honest conversation. However, you can be assertive. Express your own opinion and ask questions. For example, "I understand that you must have a good reason for this behavior. Are you saying this because you are unhappy working with me?"

If several team members have a negative disposition toward you, you can have individual conversations with each of them.

4. Distinguish criticism from negativity

If you are being criticized, this does not mean that someone does not like you or is trying to offend you. On the contrary, criticism helps professionals grow, discover new opportunities, eliminate shortcomings, and improve strengths. That is why any criticism must be constructive - even a fair and grateful attitude towards criticism will make your colleagues respect you.

If you feel uncomfortable with how mistakes are pointed out to you, it's enough to ask your colleague nicely to do it more politely. For example, "I understand things better when explained in practice and a calm manner. Could you just show me how it's done?" But, again, direct criticism is much better than talking behind your back and rolling eyes.

5. Ask for feedback

No matter how productive and effective you are or whether your work is being directly criticized, the best way to earn recognition for your accomplishments is to adjust them to the expectations of others. Or simply pretend that you are asking them because when you are interested in the opinion of your colleagues, you are letting them know that their opinions are important to you. In addition, this will help you become even more effective because you will see where you are making mistakes, where you should shift your attention, and where you might need someone's help.

You can ask for feedback in a completely unobtrusive way such as "Could you see how well I did this? Is everything all right here?" Or "In your opinion, what else do I need to learn to be successful in this position? Maybe you have some advice for me?".

6. Pay attention to your appearance and how you construct your speech

You might ask yourself why you should care about the attitude of your colleagues when all they do is "see you according to your clothes, but see you off according to your mind." However, how you look can help create a more profound and favorable impression. For example, do not wear sneakers and a stretched T-shirt. You should instead be in a business suit and shiny oxfords. Also, you should express your thoughts clearly and concisely without complex and abstract ideas. Finally, pay special attention to using a polite tone and personal addresses - people love to be addressed by their first name.

Establishing relationships with your team is primarily a matter of psychology and the willingness to smile when they show their teeth to you. With brute force and the same brute intellect, you will indeed be promoted, but not necessarily gain the recognition of your colleagues. Therefore, you need to be smarter and more gentle. Show empathy and be involved in the life of the office. Offer your help and willingly accept it in return. Only then will the climate in your team improve on its own, and your position in the company will also improve.

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