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LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

How to gain respect from your colleagues

  • 19 Comments

Don’t be afraid to say “no” to requests at work. It shows you have a good sense of judgement and can prioritise

Answer the questions below, to find out if you are being taken advantage of. At work:

  • Are you afraid to say “no” to requests?
  • Has the office banter crossed the line of being banter and now become rude?
  • Have you become reluctant to generate input?
  • Are your ideas not being taken seriously?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, then you are not getting the respect you deserve at work. Fear not, however, because we can help you change that.

 

Music conductors hands with baton

Putting the rhetoric of peer leadership into practice

Saying “no” can be difficult. You want to be known as someone with a can-do attitude who is always willing to go the extra mile. You might think saying no is a career-limiting opportunity but in fact it is rather the reverse. Employers like employees who are able to discern which tasks require the answer “yes” and which ones require a “no”. Being able to say “no” at work shows you have a good sense of judgement and can prioritise well.

You need to learn to say no firmly. When you say no in person make sure your body language also says “no”. For example, do not accompany your “no” response with a nervous smile. If people get the impression that they can talk you around, they will try to. Do not give them this opportunity.

Often, you may feel that you will face a put-down if you try to say no to something, but the box above shows you how to deal with that situation.

 

Handling put-downs

  • Question assertion. For example: “What makes you say that?” Asking questions gives you the time to think of effective responses
  • Empathetic assertion. For example: “Your tone seems aggressive. Are you OK?” By finishing your statement with a question, you enable them to realise that their actions towards you are undesirable and allows them the opportunity to rectify this
  • Discrepancy assertion. For example: “John. You agreed to stop being sarcastic in the office, but you’re still putting people down. What’s happened?” You should refer to a previous discussion or an implicit agreement between you
  • Negative feelings. For example: “John, I’m angry that you think you can carry on like this. When you choose to behave like this I feel our mutual respect is lost. I’d like this to stop, wouldn’t you?” The other party may not be aware that their actions are affecting you, so bring it to their attention

 

Suzanne Potts is a motivational speaker in assertiveness, who keynote speaks for conferences and corporate events. Conrad Potts is a psychologist and corporate training consultant who has expertise in change management, performance improvement and motivation

● This article is adapted from Assertiveness: How To Be Strong in Every Situation by Conrad and Suzanne Potts (Capstone, £10.99). Available from www.wiley.com

 

  • 19 Comments

Readers' comments (19)

  • "The other party may not be aware that their actions are affecting you, so bring it to their attention"

    only to be told you shouldn't be so sensitive ? !

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  • The tips for handling put downs may be useful but to these then come responses which one needs to know how to handle skilfully as well to avoid being dragged into what often turns out to be a senseless and point scoring argument. It is often better just to walk away!

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  • The 'Handling Put-Downs' makes for hilarious reading. Just don't come to Glasgow and try any of that!

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 4-Jun-2013 6:41 pm

    Agree, some parts of the country might wonder what language you are talking:)

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  • tinkerbell | 4-Jun-2013 9:15 pm

    with all due respect to the friendly Glaswegians, you wouldn't know whether they were putting you down or not without the help of an interpreter!



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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 4-Jun-2013 10:15 pm

    when i lived in Scotland every morning the local lollipop man would chat with me, It all sounded friendly enough but i really didn't understand much of it, and neither did they understand me. I had to leave the butchers once without what i wanted cos' i couldn't make myself understood with me old cockney accent. I only wanted half a pound of bacon.

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  • tinkerbell | 4-Jun-2013 10:25 pm

    I know that butcher!
    One very cold, winter's day, he was standing in front of a small calor gas fire with his hands behind him trying to get some heat into his frozen fingers. A small woman entered his butcher's shop and asked, "Is that your Ayrshire Bacon?"
    "No. I'm just warming my hands!" replied the butcher.
    Think about it.........

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  • Anonymous | 4-Jun-2013 10:15 pm

    Ah, this is an easy one. No doubt, they'll be putting you down! But don't worry, it's considered to be a sign of affection in these parts...........sometimes.

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  • tinkerbell

    mags | 4-Jun-2013 11:31 pm

    Mags

    had to go into a scottish accent in my mind before the penny dropped. this site just gets funnier and funnier.

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  • mags | 4-Jun-2013 11:31 pm

    from 10.15

    I need help with that one. I have taken Tinkerbell's tip and been sitting here putting on my best Scottish accent and reapeating it over and over out loud but nuffink!

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