10 behaviors that can lose you respect at work (but are easy to stop)

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Navigating the workplace can be tricky – it requires more than just meeting deadlines or showing off your particular set of skills. 

And in any job, how we behave is just as important as the work we do. 

Good behaviors earn us respect, while bad behaviors can cause people to think less of us. 

So, in this article we’ll be exploring 10 behaviors that can lose you respect…but the good news is, they’re all easy to fix! 

Are you ready to be someone everyone in the office looks up to? Let’s dive in: 

1) Being unreliable

When working as part of a team, each member needs to be on top of their tasks to keep the overall operation of the business running smoothly. 

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that things like:

  • Not meeting deadlines 
  • Arriving late 
  • Backing out of commitments 

Would lose you respect at work! Even if it isn’t your intention to let people down, it’s still going to affect them, and potentially cause more work for your teammates. 

Try this:

Use tools or apps to help you organize your work so you can prioritize the tasks people are relying on you for. 

If you really do need to back out of a commitment or come in late one morning, communicate this as early as possible so other measures can be put in place. 

2) Negative attitude

The next behavior that’ll lose you respect at work is having a negative nelly attitude. 

I’ll go easy on you since I know that most people don’t realize just how pessimistic they’re being, and this might be the case for you too.

But it’s important to remember, negativity can bring down the overall morale of the team. 

It’s also not very productive or effective – even if you feel like you’re helping by pointing out potential pitfalls, to others, it can seem like you’re simply complaining without offering alternatives. 

Try this:

When you have concerns over a project, think of solutions rather than listing everything that could go wrong.

Consciously make an effort to redirect your negative thoughts into positive ones – practicing mindfulness or gratitude could help with this. 

3) Lack of communication

In a previous job, I had a supervisor who, rather than speak to the team when she was stressed or annoyed, would bottle it up. 

Later, she’d explode over small things, leaving us all confused and unsure of where we stood with her. 

This was because she hadn’t learned how to communicate effectively. And yes, we as a team certainly didn’t respect her. 

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Communication isn’t always easy, but the good news? You can always learn and improve! 

Try this: 

Make communicating with your team or coworkers a regular habit, even if you have to schedule time slots to “touch base” with everyone for a few minutes each week.

If you struggle with confrontation, this guide will help you

4) Disrespectful behavior

Now, when we talk about disrespectful behavior in the workplace, there are a few different areas to cover, such as:

  • Inappropriate comments 
  • Rudeness 
  • A lack of willingness to acknowledge others’ achievements 
  • Overstepping professional boundaries
  • Ignoring people’s personal boundaries 

Any of the above will quickly turn your coworkers against you. The reason is that it’s simply unprofessional, but it also creates a hostile work environment. 

Try this: 

Learn and practice active listening, this will make your coworkers feel valued and heard. Think twice before making jokes that could be perceived as inappropriate (and when in doubt, keep it to yourself). 

And finally, recognize that everyone, regardless of their skin color, gender, or role in the company, deserves to be treated with respect

5) Gossiping

We’re all prone to engaging in a bit of office gossiping, right? 

I’d be a hypocrite if I said I’ve never enjoyed hearing about a coworker’s crazy antics during the Christmas party over the coffee machine the next day. 

But too much gossiping is a surefire way to lose respect – ultimately, as much as it’s entertaining, it’s often unkind. 

And those who spread gossip are quite rightly seen as stirring the pot and causing problems.

Try this:

Simply refuse to engage in it. 

If someone tries to give you the dirt on another coworker, politely redirect the conversation to something neutral, or directly tell them you’re uninterested if they don’t give up! 

6) Ignoring feedback

Feedback can be difficult to digest, especially if you’ve tried your hardest and it still didn’t hit the mark. 

But know that ignoring feedback or refusing to consider your mistakes can make you seem arrogant. 

It also creates an environment where your team may feel hesitant to provide constructive feedback, even though this is crucial – after all, none of us are perfect. For a project to thrive, we should be continuously looking for ways to do better. 

Try this:

Instead of perceiving feedback as a personal attack, try to view it as your team/manager helping you do better because they care. 

Listen with an open mind, avoid getting confrontational or defensive, and see this as an opportunity for growth. 

7) Unpreparedness

We’ve all been there – rushing out of the door, notes for the meeting hastily scribbled down, not even time to finish a coffee. 

And while we can all get caught out by this once in a while, if you’re constantly unprepared, it doesn’t scream “professional”. 

This can make the rest of your coworkers lose respect for you – especially if they’ve worked hard to be prepared and ready. 

Try this: 

Make it a habit to be prepared – don’t leave planning or research until the night before, make a head start as soon as you have the agenda. 

The night before a big meeting, have your clothes, work, and lunch prepared beforehand. That’ll give you time to compose your thoughts in the morning and arrive cool, calm, and collected. 

8) Overpromising and underdelivering

Now, this next behavior is one you probably don’t do on purpose – you want to help out and take on more responsibility…but you fail to measure whether it’s in your capacity to do so. 

That leads to work not being done up to the expected standard, and most likely, a few disgruntled coworkers or managers on your case. 

Not to mention, your team may think you’re being irresponsible, and that’s a surefire way to lose their respect. 

Try this: 

It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver. Set realistic expectations, prioritize this work above all else if possible, and let people know in a timely manner if you’ll struggle to complete it. 

9) Lack of professionalism

When it comes to professionalism, there are certain unspoken rules we’re expected to follow in the workplace. Abiding by these rules shows you have respect for those around you. 

Ignore the rules, and you’ll soon find your team losing respect for you. So, what does a lack of professionalism look like? 

  • Not dressing appropriately – depending on your company, some will frown upon wearing casual clothes or flip-flops to work, especially if it’s a traditional setup 
  • Using foul language/curse words
  • Not proofreading or using polite terminology in emails 
  • Leaving your workspace or the staff lounge messy 
  • Not maintaining proper hygiene which can be off-putting to coworkers

Ultimately, these rules, while some may seem more important than others, are there so everyone can focus on their work without distractions. 

Try this: 

Re-read your company’s policy, so you don’t ignorantly display such behaviors. Be mindful of those working around you and remember – you can’t treat the office like it’s your personal living room.

10) Ignoring work-life boundaries

And finally, another behavior that will lose you respect at work is if you ignore work-life boundaries. 

Most of us want to switch off from work when we get home, and the last thing we need is someone interrupting that. 

It shows a lack of consideration for our time and, importantly, our well-being. 

Try this: 

Get clued up on people’s boundaries – don’t be afraid to ask them. Respect people’s time by avoiding giving them an important task right at the end of the day when they’re ready to sign out. 

And when they’re not at work, avoid sending emails or calling them. In doing this, you can set your own work-life boundaries too, so it’s a win for everyone! 

We’ve come to the end of 10 behaviors that can lose you respect at work – which did you identify with? 

No matter how many you resonated with, don’t beat yourself up over it, just do better using the tips above. Your coworkers and managers will recognize your efforts, and that’s all it takes to start earning back their respect

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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