15 signs you’re more respected at work than you realize

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We all want to feel appreciated in the workplace.

In fact, studies have shown that getting the recognition we deserve matters more to us than financial reward.

Feeling respected by our colleagues and our bosses matters. It all contributes to having a good sense of job satisfaction.

So how do you know if you are respected at work?

Look out for these signs, some of which may surprise you!

1) You’re left to get on with your work

Ok, on the surface, your boss leaving you to get on with things may not always feel like a sign of respect.

You may even feel neglected and overlooked at times because of this.

But look at it this way:

Your boss doesn’t feel the need to look over your shoulder or micromanage you. That shows trust.

You may not be getting the attention you crave, but your boss feels like they need to worry about you and can divert their attention elsewhere.

2) You’re given freedom and flexibility

Surveys have shown that 78% of employees feel their productivity increases when work arrangements are flexible.

Here’s the thing:

We’re no longer children, and feeling like someone is rigidly controlling your entire day can be incredibly frustrating.

It’s a sign of respect when an employer gives you leeway when you need it. For example, flexibility in your hours, remote working, or job sharing.

That might mean taking the occasional long lunch break without making a big deal of it.

It could be letting you shift around your work schedule for personal needs.

It means recognizing that family commitments also need to be considered.

3) It’s ok for you to say no

This is a big one:

You’re asked, rather than told.

Whether it’s a special project you are invited to take part in, or coming in for an extra shift on Saturday.

Having a choice is really significant for morale.

It’s a sign of respect that you are consulted rather than commanded.

More than that, you can say “no” to certain requests without feeling that it is going to be held against you.

4) You’re not punished for errors

Don’t get me wrong, when we mess up it’s important to have feedback. Never receiving any can be a sign of neglect at work.

Our mistakes are always opportunities for us to learn. A good leader will want that to happen.

But that should never feel like the blame game.

The respectful way of doing it is always keeping things constructive, rather than feeling like you are simply being chastised.

5) You’re treated with compassion

Once upon a time, we were expected to keep our private lives out of the workplace.

But as the working culture has shifted, employees have increasingly recognized that’s impossible.


Because we’re human.

If something is happening at home, it’s unreasonable to expect us to “suck it up” and put on a brave face.

From relationship issues to health problems — it’s respectful when your superiors and employer take a sympathetic stance.

As we’ll see next, that also includes offering support when necessary.

Related: 7 signs you have a unique personality that stands out from the crowd

6) You are offered support

Support can come in the form of compassion as we mentioned in the above point.

For example, that may mean offering compassionate leave when you are going through a difficult time.

But it can also come in the form of resources and benefits.

It’s all about treating your employees like you care —not just about their productivity but about their welfare too.

What better way to show respect than investing in someone’s health, mental well-being, and growth?

This goes for professional development too…

7) You are encouraged to progress

You may have heard the saying that “When you stop growing you start dying”.

Feeling consistently bored at work is a red flag that we’ve outgrown our role.

Rather than mean you are unappreciative, it’s more likely a sign that you no longer feel challenged.

Of course, our career progression is largely on us. If we don’t step up and look for chances, we’re unlikely to go anywhere.

But a good workplace gives you encouragement and makes development part of the office culture.

Whether it’s through mentoring, providing courses, or offering new opportunities — they want to see you reach your full potential.

8) Your colleagues confide in you

The workplace is made up of more than just our superiors. How we interact with our fellow colleagues plays a big part too.

Having their respect most likely means just as much to you as your boss seeing you in a favorable light.

If colleagues come to you for advice, to get your take on things, or simply to confide in you over an issue, it means you are well respected.

9) Your co-workers have got your back

As well as your colleagues relying on you, you also feel like you can rely on them.

That’s not to say there will never be any tension. After all, the people we end up working with can feel a bit like family members in the sense that we can’t choose them.

But when it comes to being a team, you feel like they are willing to help you out.

That could be by covering for you when you need to take time off or lending a helping hand on a big project.

Overall, you have a good working relationship with your co-workers.

10) You have the autonomy to make decisions in your work

Not every little thing you do needs to be referred up. You are trusted to make your own judgment calls.

That’s why they hired you!

Being given the space to make certain decisions, without asking permission, shows that your ideas, thoughts, and opinions are appreciated.

We all want to feel like we are in control of our own life.

When we can make our own decisions, we feel more satisfied at work. Because we know that any outcome is a direct result of our own abilities.

As pointed out by Harvard Business Review:

“In short, autonomy is an indispensable component of motivation and a key driver of performance and well-being.”

11) You’re asked your opinion

“What are your thoughts on this?”

It’s a simple sentence, but one that holds a lot of significance.

Asking employees rather than telling them is a big sign of respect.

If you are frequently encouraged to contribute your input during meetings, you’re clearly doing something right!

Similarly, if your colleagues, or subordinates, as well as your boss, seeks out your opinions then it shows what you have to say matters.

12) Your boss makes time for you

We all know that life is full of priorities that need to be juggled.

In our relationships with others, when someone fails to make any time for us, we can see that we are low on their priority list.

The same applies at work.

Your boss may not always have lots of free time, but they do make the time to check in with you.

It might be a five-minute chat over coffee, or a simple email to see how things are going. But they make their presence known in case you need anything.

13) You’re relied upon

Admittedly there is a big difference between being relied upon and being put upon at work.

Whilst the former lets you know that you are indispensable, the latter can leave you feeling overstretched and close to burnout.

When you aren’t at work, things may not run as smoothly. You can see that you are an essential part of how well everything operates.

When we are relied upon, we are not taken for granted. However, we are very much needed.

14) You are fairly compensated for your time

We’ve spoken a lot about intrinsic motivation in this article — the sense of taking pride in what you do.

But let’s also be real:

Getting a decent living wage is a baseline of respect for any company wanting your loyalty.

It’s difficult to feel respected at work when your wages feel disproportionate to the energy and time you put in.

It would be nice if we could all live off praise and the warm feeling of a job well done. But in the real world, we have rent to pay, food to buy, families to take care of…and much more.

Respectful employers also put their money where their mouth is and reflect their respect in your paycheck.

15) You feel good about going to work

Let’s not forget that one of the best gauges of whether you are respected at work comes down to how you feel.

You can most likely sense when you are being spoken to and treated respectfully.

I’m not suggesting you have to spring out of bed every morning raring to go —we all have our flat days.

But you certainly don’t dread heading into work. Generally speaking, it feels like a pleasant environment to be in.

You know you are valued and that feels good.

To conclude: Respect isn’t just given, it’s also earned

Hopefully, you can relate to plenty of these signs on the list which show that you are already getting your dues at work.

Of course, respect is a two-way street. We need to dish it out through diligence, following the rules, and taking responsibility.

But we also demand it through upholding our boundaries, speaking truthfully, and staying true to our standards of worth.


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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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