Respect yourself and those around you — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

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It can be the smallest things that effect the success of your career. My 16 year old son has reminded me of some of the behavioral basics that can mean the difference between being successful in your job and being fired. You might think these behaviors are small, but I can guarantee you, they can be be some of the biggest annoyances to those around you. If there is one thing you never want to be in your career, it is annoying, so take heed of the advice noted below.

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Respect the time of others

Adults should always respect the time of others. You shouldn’t make people wait on you, nor you on them. This is a waste of the person’s time and, I believe shows great disrespect. Any manager who is chronically late to meetings is showing very clearly what he thinks of his staff. His time (or hers) is obviously worth more than the staff. Staff will pick up on this clear indicator and begin to r esent it more and more. No one likes being disrespected and if a manager isn’t careful, they might find themselves out of a job entirely. You can’t expect staff to respect you or your initiatives if you constantly disrespect their time and efforts.

Similarly, if you deal directly with customers, you should respect their time, too. Answer calls and emails expediently. Don’t make them repeat information you should already have at hand. Don’t make them wait for hours for an appointment or, even worse, fail to so show up when you are scheduled. All of these send very clear signals to your customers — they don’t matter and you don’t care.

The clearest way to respect the time of others is to consider how you would feel if you were the staff member or customer. Would you feel disrespected? Would you feel your time was being wasted? I can guarantee you would. Your staff and customers feel exactly the same way.

Say what you’ll do and do what you say?

When you are delegated a task — at work or at home — you need to acknowledge that task and then actually do it. First, when given a task, take a direct action to note it down in front of the person who is delegating the task. In my career, I have found this to be one of the best behaviors to exhibit. When people see you make note in your journal, day planner or phone calendar, they feel that you have clearly heard the task and have agreed to accomplish it. A wave of the hand and a “Yeah, I’ll do that” fails to install any confidence in you or your actions. In fact, I have learned over the years that that behavior basically means you probably won’t ever do the task. This is not the signal you want to be sending if you want a successful career.

Next, once you have said you will actually so something — do it — in a timely manner. When you are delegated a task without a firm deadline, you should always assume that the task should be completed ASAP. It is I so frustrating for a manager — or a parent — to watch you do other, non-essential tasks when they have asked you to do something. Our patience can only be stretched so far before breaking. Again, such behavior shows a certain lack of respect and lack of understanding of the work that needs to be done.

It is deeply important to realize that, while a parent or spouse might “nag” you to get the task completed, your managers will not nag you — they will simply find someone else to do your job. If you constantly avoid doing what you say you will do, you eventually won’t have to worry about it at all. You will simply be out of a job.

In your work, and in your life, you need to show respect for those around you and also respect for yourself. Respect other’s time, take your work promises seriously and do them diligently. These basic behaviors will insure that your career has a solid foundation on which to build. Ignore them and you might not have a career to build at all.


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