Top Ways To Reclaim Power At Work


I don’t know about you, but I am always the last to know.

Gossip. Intrigue. Facts.

If something is happening, there’s a good chance that the whole world knows about it before I do. And it’s probably the same for you because most of us live in self-absorbed bubbles.

And I’m reminded of this when someone comes to me and says, “I don’t feel respected in my job.”

You’re probably not… and it’s probably been like that for ages. Sorry.

Here are some ideas to reclaim power and garner a little more respect at work.

  1. Stop apologizing for everything. Bump into your coworker? Spill coffee? Interrupt someone? Do yourself a favor and stop talking. Apologize with your eyes, your body language, and by not making the same mistake twice.
  2. Stop being the funny guy. Everyone likes a good laugh — from a professional comedian. Whenever I see someone like Robert Gibbs making a joke in the White House Press Room, I want to scream. This is work, not Second City.
  3. Don’t bring food to the office. Powerful  people have boundaries. Homemade cookies blur the lines and make you look like commonfolk.
  4. Declutter your workspace. I’ve written about this before. Powerful and respected people don’t have wall calendars, desk calendars, picture frames, candy bowls, and tchotchkes in their cubicles.
  5. Stop selling stuff to your coworkers. Pampered Chef. Tupperware. Girl Scout cookies. It’s disrespectful to solicit fellow employees and it puts you in a position of asking for a favor.
  6. Stop chiming in. If the conversation isn’t between you and someone else, save your thoughts and follow up later. It gives you an opportunity for a private discussion, which is much more effective than a random and uninvited comment.
  7. Keep your kids/animal stories at home. Here are some things that are not good business metaphors: raising a toddler, giving birth, or fostering a cat. Nothing kills your reputation in the office faster than injecting your children and your animals into a serious discussion.
  8. Stop writing long email messages. No one reads them. Write in short, concise sentences.
  9. Don’t giggle. It wipes years off your resume and makes you look insecure.
  10. Stop looking for respect. Powerful people have confidence and believe in their convictions. They will act and suffer the consequences of making a mistake. And they don’t act like puppies who are constantly seeking approval and attention.

Most importantly, you should give respect to get respect. (I hate that saying, though.) You don’t have to ‘like’ anyone at the office. Hugs are not required. Acknowledge a job well done with a handshake or a pat on the back. Nod your head. Or don’t say anything at all and lay off the criticism when your coworkers ‘screw up’ in a minor way.

You will know you’re respected when people stop calling you out for stupid mistakes, too.

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