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Starting a new job or having a new boss is always intimidating. You’re walking into a new situation, somewhat blind with high expectations of what’s to come. Without even knowing about it, you rub your new boss the wrong way… and all because you stumbled over the “respect is earned, not given” guidance.

In general, you will have earned a baseline of respect when you walk in the door – they respected your background and experience enough to hire you, so you have that going for you. But once you are officially on board, you are walking into a team. An organization that has been a unit before you joined them, so it’s up to you to start gaining their respect and integrating into the team.


4 Quick Ways to Start Earning Your Boss’s Respect

1. Don’t be the antagonist.

I know there are some personalities that tend to enjoy being the contrarian or the antagonist. I am constantly surrounded by a few, so I understand the urge to point out the potential other side.

It’s not a bad characteristic or trait to have, but when you are new to a team, it can be one of the most detrimental things you do. Remember, they have had ideas and successes for years before you came on board – you have no idea what land mine you are stepping on by playing devil’s advocate out of the gate.

Instead, if you have concerns or see future issues ahead, turn your contrarian view to another potential solution. You will always be more successful providing solutions instead of problems.

2. Deliver above expectations and meet deadlines.

When you are transitioning into a new situation, the new level of expectations can be stressful, particularly if you are starting your first “grown-up” job. The easiest way for your boss to start trusting you, is to deliver.

Listen carefully to the project terms, fully understand what the expectations are, and deliver on time and a step above what was expected.

The phrase, “Under promise, over deliver,” will gain you brownie points every time. Simple rule of thumb: try your best and meet your deadlines.

3. Create work professional relationships.

Saying, “be professional” is a bit vague and will differ depending on who you are and what type of company you are working at. What can be applied to every work situation, is to remember that you are at work.

Your relationships and interactions need to remain at a different level than the relationships you have with your going out friends. Your boss, especially, wants to know that he/she can trust you with information without having it blabbed to Bob in Accounting.

Each relationship/interaction at work should have the same desired end result – add value and enrichment to your work goals and personal learning objectives.

4. Round out the team instead of being a beacon of attention.

Your boss most likely wants to be successful, and the more you are able to help him achieve that success, the more respect you will gain. I’m not saying let him take advantage of you or your skills, but instead, become a true member of the team instead of trying to be the breakout player.

Pitch-in on projects when asked. Assist a coworker so that they don’t miss a deadline. Attend team functions with a good attitude, and so on.

If you aren’t jumping up and down shouting “Look how amazing I am!” you are more likely to be seen as a trusted and valuable team player, earning respect along the way.

Remember, that longer-term, the best always rise to the top. But let that happen without you having to shout about it all of the time.

Earning your boss’s respect takes time, but once you have earned it, new opportunities and interactions will arise. Continue to focus on delivering, being respectful, and doing your best work – and even when you stumble, you will be able to get back up.

This post originally ran on LifeAfterCollege.org.