Your new job may have plenty to offer, including a decent salary, opportunities to learn, and exposure to new systems and industry developments. But in order to thrive in the role and leverage it to further your career, you’ll need one more indispensable thing: respect. If your managers, coworkers and clients trust you, respect you, and credit you with integrity, you’ll be on your way to growth and long term success. If they don’t, you’ll end up at the end of your tenure with little or nothing to show for it. And you won’t enjoy the experience very much.

Take control of your reputation and how others perceive you in the workplace by keeping these simple guidelines in mind.

Respect yourself first, and others will follow.

In the back of your mind, in your private moments, you may sometimes doubt your skills or your ability to lead. Don’t waste time doing this. No matter who you are, there are dozens of people within easy reach who are far less qualified than you are but who don’t doubt themselves—either because they don’t recognize their own limitations, or because they ignore them, or both, or for other reasons that aren’t worth dissecting. You are fine. You are perfectly adequate. And what’s more, your knowledge and experience increase every day. If you don’t know about something, find out. If you’re not great at something, practice and strive to improve. Move forward with purpose and conviction.

Don’t waffle.

When you say something, mean what you say and follow through. If you can’t accept a task, politely say so. If you need a resource you don’t have, ask for it. When you agree to something, follow up, and insist on the same follow-up from those on the other side of your agreement. If you want to say no, say it and be clear. If you change your mind, change it and explain why if necessary.  If not, don’t. Just don’t find yourself caught in a trap of your own making after being too afraid or uncertain to speak the truth and say what you mean.

Do the right thing, always. Eventually others will notice.

When you have to choose between doing what’s right and something else—anything else—do what’s right. Enriching your shareholders, obeying your boss, inflating your position, or gaining a promotion all pale when weighed against doing what’s right. Too often, this choice appears more difficult than it actually is, and more difficult than it has to be. Not only is doing the right thing always the correct choice, it will eventually earn you the respect of everyone who matters.

For more on how to gain and keep the respect of those around you and maintain a reputation you can be proud of, turn to the Milwaukee career management team at Extension Inc.


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