How to Get the Respect You Deserve at Work

by A Manly Guest Contributor on January 3, 2011 · 47 comments

in Money & Career

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Joe Weber.

Most men aim to like their jobs, and all men want to be respected. But doing a great job and being respected at work aren’t always mutually inclusive.  There’s a guy in every workplace that busts his butt every day but still gets walked all over by his co-workers or worse yet… management.

Earning respect from your superiors and colleagues is just as much about diplomacy and navigating the politics of the workplace as it is about effort.  If a guy is a tremendous worker but doesn’t fully grasp the politics at his job… he’s a dead man.  All the work and no recognition.  And when I say recognition I’m not talking about plaques or gift certificates or a parking space….those are just trinkets.  I’m talking about the kind of internal recognition that translates directly into happiness.  Respect.

Respect is given only to those who are valued.  The highest managers look to you for advice and counsel, no matter what your salary happens to be.  Your co-workers who are full of B.S. are scared of you, because they know if they try anything stupid you have the ability to out maneuver them in an argument or with their superiors. And the best benefit of being respected at work? Your life away from the job is rarely if ever negatively impacted by your career.  Because when you head home for the day, your head is clear of all the crap that being treated unfairly burdens you with.

Many of us have seen both sides.  Here’s how to make the brighter one a reality:

Don’t care so much.  Seriously.

Men often get obsessed with their careers. Jobs are like relationships.  If you hold on too tight to your career you’ll smother it. Just like when you’re in a relationship, you need to have your own identity. Your employer needs to value your presence and understand that you are working for them because you choose to. No matter how good you are at your job, if you’re always bending over backwards and constantly working late or on the weekends your employer will abuse that.

Yes it’s a brutal economy, but you can’t walk around terrified of living in a world where you’re not at this particular job. You’ll be taken for granted, and worst of all, the quality of your work will suffer.  It’s the same reason why football place kickers sometimes inexplicably shank and miss short game winning field goals.  They’re so wrapped up in what could happen if they miss, what normally comes naturally fails.

Care… less.  Don’t go all Peter Gibbons in Office Space and stop caring at all.  You don’t want to be reckless and disrespectful, but just loosen your grip. Shedding the natural terror that comes with the thought of losing your job is enormously powerful. Do this by having a backup plan. You don’t want to be asking yourself: “What am I going to do now?” if you get laid off. Always be working, even if it’s ever so slightly, towards something different.  A dream even. Having a backup plan lets you carry yourself a bit taller at work, because you realize that if the worst were to actually happen, it’s not the end of the world.

Never miss a deadline.  Ever.

It’s called a deadline for a reason.  Now, nobody actually dies when a deadline is missed, but the fact is people don’t respect a zero hour, we-need-it-by-this-time or we’re screwed deadline anymore.  It’s all about being accountable.  Do what you say you’re going to do.  If someone puts a deadline on you that’s unreasonable?  You have to respectfully and firmly tell them why the work will suffer and the job might not get completed on the shortened timeline.  Offer an alternative.

Never be late to an appointment.  Ever.

Being late shows that you believe your time to be more valuable than the time of the person whom you are meeting with.  Maybe your time is actually more valuable than theirs, but… never openly disrespect someone like that. Imagine if you were in their position.

Don’t gossip.  Especially over email.

Because one day you will hit “reply” instead of “forward” and that person you can’t stand will then find out just what you think of them.  Guaranteed they won’t take it as an honest reflection on how they can improve at work.

Don’t waste anyone’s time, but sometimes allow your superiors to waste yours.

Boy, do the guys in the corner offices love to talk about nothing.  They load you up with work, and then they want to shoot the breeze.  Be tactful if your boss wants to take you to lunch or starts rambling about his grandkids on your busiest of days. If you can squeeze in some face time, consider it an investment. But never, ever return this “favor.” Don’t drop in just to say “hi.”  Keep them at arms length. You’re not sucking up and becoming best buds with the boss. You’re just playing your cards right.

Treat those “underneath” you well.

There’s hardly anything worse than some old dog treating the fresh faced new employee like garbage. While working in an event related business, I saw guys making over 100k a year show up late to a gig, complain to the $7.00/hr 19-year-old that some small detail wasn’t completely perfect, then leave 15 minutes before the event ended. They never offered to help with the tear down, and sometimes left an empty soda bottle for the newbie to pick up and throw in the trash. If you know for a fact that you’re making a boatload more than someone you’re working with, pick up the tab for lunch. Thank the receptionist for dealing with every single person, good or bad, who comes through that door. And if you run into the custodian? Look them in the eye and say hello. It’s those types who actually make a business run.

You never know when one of your subordinates might be promoted above you or end up in a position where you need their help. If you treated them well, they’ll be happy to return the favor instead of relishing the opportunity for revenge.

Dress like you’re going to ask for a raise.  Every day.

The cliche is to dress for the job you want, but that’s not fail-safe advice. Yes, you want to stand out, but you want to do so subtly.  Maybe you eventually want to run the company you work for, but if you just got hired on and your management doesn’t even wear a tie to work, it’s best to leave your three piece suit in the closet.  You don’t want to show anybody up.  That just breeds resentment.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a well tailored blazer over a v-neck sweater, crisp dress shirt, with a great looking pair of chinos.  If everyone else is slugging along in pleated khakis and ill-fitting sport shirts, assemble a work day wardrobe that stays within the business casual vibe, but exceeds expectations all the same.  Clothes can be powerful.  It’s pretty tough for a mid-level manager to get snotty with someone in a blazer while he’s wearing an unironed and frayed oxford.  You know how you dress just a touch nicer on the days you have your performance review or maybe even have a meeting with the boss about a potential raise?  Dress like that every day, and when those meetings do come up… you’ll be surprised how much easier they’ll go.

Know when to shut up, especially when you’re in a group.

Discretion can really be the better part of valor.  I hate to say this, because it shouldn’t be this way, but there is such a thing as too much honesty.  Especially in a group situation. Don’t lie, but know when, how, and to whom you deliver the unvarnished truth.  There are parts of any business that depend highly on confidence (sales), and if you openly question a major initiative, no matter how right you may be, you’ll do irreparable damage to the project.  Some workers are just looking for an excuse not to do something, and if you’re pointing out flaws in front of the entire team without being asked? You’re giving them an excuse.

Is it fair?  No.  Absolutely not.  But before you open your mouth, ask yourself if there’s going to be any side effects to your honesty. If your opinion is asked for by a superior, even if you’re in a group setting and you know they’re not going to like your answer, give it anyway. They asked. Their fault. And politely tell them afterwards when you’re one on one that you really wish they wouldn’t have put you in that position.

Keep your workspace clean.

It doesn’t have to be spotless.  A slight mess is a sign of work being done.  But for Pete’s sake throw out the Twix wrapper you had after lunch…last week.  I once worked with a guy who was killing himself for the company.  Always middle management and got passed over time and time again for that next step up he so desperately wanted and deserved.  I finally asked the big-boss man one day why he wasn’t getting his shot.  His response?  “Have you seen his desk?  It’s like a teenager’s room back there.”  Ouch.

Don’t ever get drunk at a work gathering.  Ever.

But if someone does get hammered at the company Christmas party?  Don’t make a big deal out of it.  Laugh it up a little with the lush while calling him or her a cab.

And finally: Sing when it’s someone’s birthday.  With gusto.

But don’t eat more than a few bites of sheet cake.

The average American spends 45 hours at work every week. Depending on your sleeping habits, that could be more than half of your waking hours Monday – Friday. That’s a big chunk of your life. Get the respect you deserve at work, and you won’t be spending Saturdays and Sundays dreading the arrival of Monday morning.

_________________________________________________________________

Joe Weber is the Director and Editor of www.Dappered.com where affordable style is the one and only focus. He believes that living right, living well, and looking good doesn’t mean you should go broke in the process.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sean January 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Awesome advice (couldn’t have come at a better time). I’m starting an 8-month internship next Monday and will be printing this article out for safe keeping.

2 Paul January 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Fantastic article! Bravo sir. Lots of great advice I think.

3 Dan Smith January 3, 2011 at 7:07 pm

My situation is a bit different because while I chose initially to work “for” the Navy, as an enlisted Sailor our lives are a bit different. Still, your advise is spot on. While I can’t ask for a raise, I can show my superiors I am ready for a good eval that leads to a promotion. That’s an example. Thank you for the advice!

4 Ian January 3, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Great peice, thanks for the addition. One I would suggest is to take responsability for something even if its unofficial, it shows initiative and dedication – even being the guy who changes the water at the cooler is appreciated just a bit more than his peers.

5 Jack Scott January 3, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I think the most important thing to do, and that was overlooked, is that you should always own up to mistakes. Everybody makes them, and it’s usually a smaller deal than you think it is. The least manly thing to do is to blame somebody else… that’s just low.

6 Antonio January 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Great article Joe! I strongly agree with the part about treating those who work in positions that appear to be “below” you with respect and dignity. From the man who clean the toilets to the woman organizes the paperwork – even though their paychecks may not be as big they are performing a vital function that ensure you can do your job better. Know their names, smile, and have genuine conversations and concern for their well being – they are a part of the team just as much as the hot shot exec.

7 JG January 3, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Here is another:

Know when to speak up

Knowing when to speak up is vital to be seen as an equal rather than a inferior. If you go to work and never speak your mind, then your coworkers will not respect you. Often, your bosses will pile on more work because you do not have the courage to speak up to say “enough!”. Remember, that everyone at your work is human; not statues, not heros, not gods. If you find yourself in an environment of followers who do not speak up against the decisions of an ineffectual superior, take the leadership, pull up your pants and speak up. Others will see that you were the first to take the risk to speak up and will respect you more even if you were scorned for speaking truth or logic.

8 Darrin January 3, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Excellent article. The suggestion to not care so much is probably the most counter-intuitive, but also the most important. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go in my workplace that just took the thing too damned seriously and pissed everyone off… including the people that could give them a promotion or raise!

9 Ozone January 3, 2011 at 11:26 pm

What a great post! And the “speak up” comment is great too. While I humbly think I do most of what is suggested (well, mostly), I’d really, really, really like to print this off and stick it in the mailboxes of a few of my colleagues who seriously need a reminder in manners and professional behavior.

10 Steve January 4, 2011 at 12:04 am

A lot good things in here-even for somebody like me who works with mostly women in the nursing profession. The avoiding gossip part is very true-you just don’t want to get tied up into it, and it just creates a toxic work place.

11 David Weiser January 4, 2011 at 12:44 am

All great advise that has long done me well. And people would be amazed at what dressing to a slightly higher status than your coworkers does for respect. I’m a short and lean built guy with a baby face. Dress code at work is business casual (for my profession just about everywhere). Reading your articles about dressing manly gave me the confidence to dress how I have been wanting to and I have traded my worn cotton slacks for proper wool trousers and added a sport coat. At least 3 managers in my company added a sport coat to their regular attire within a month of my starting this and the added respect has been noticeable. My tweed and navy blue designer sport coats were among the best $300 investments I have ever made.

12 Ryan Tyler January 4, 2011 at 6:39 am

I feel like this can be boiled down to “Be professional.”
Ryan

13 Eric January 4, 2011 at 7:24 am

To Jack Scott – In the years I have been in the professional (as opposed to retail) workplace, I am ALWAYS surprised at the amount of finger pointing when something goes wrong. At my last job, I royally screwed up a project release one weekend. My boss told me on Saturday that Monday would consist of a meeting with his boss to figure out what to do next. The only reason I was able to keep my job was because I took responsibility for my mistake and I owned it.

In my opinion, it takes a stronger man to admit his own faults than to place blame. In the workplace, this character trait leads to earned respect. I have since moved into another job, but as I left, my boss told me I always had a home there. It’s nice to know I have a fallback position.

This article is extremely good advice. Thanks for the post!

14 charles gallo January 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

RE The Janitor/Security Guard etc

I knew one boss who said to me “Before I promote ANYONE, or if I really want to know what is going on, I go talk to the Janitor. They always know who is good, and who is BS, and any person who doesn’t respect them doesn’t go anywhere in my book”. BTW, the Janitor in that company had no family, and gave all his money to charity. When he died, he would have gone to potters field. The company took care of everything, and I never saw a turnout for a funeral like I did for that one. He was much loved by friends, and other people. They were his family.

15 Tom Meitner January 4, 2011 at 10:12 am

“Dress like you want a raise” is important, and people need to remember that you’ll catch a lot of flak from people who think you’re sucking up. “But EVERYBODY wears jeans on Friday!” So what? Be the “tie guy”. Who cares? Let them sit in their positions while you move on up in the world.

16 Samuel Warren January 4, 2011 at 10:34 am

Great Stuff.

Looking back I wish I’d had this article seven years ago.

17 JMC January 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

I don’t think the attitude of “be professional” (which I agree seems to be the main thrust of the article), is not in line with the ethos of this website. When you act like a professional, you get treated like a professional, which perhaps may help you get some level of respect.

I think, however, that if Brett were to write this article he would start with being virtuous – which is not in just how you act but in who you are. Virtue is the habitual disposition to choose what is good. It comes from the heart. It comes from an identity. You will be respected when you are respectable – as a person. Once your identity is secure, you can move forward in sharpening the saw – being more professional, dressing better, etc.

A man gets respect when he deserves it. He deserves it because it’s who he is. A man who does everything in that article and is the poster child of “professional” will get ahead at work, make a lot of money, etc… but if he beats his wife he is not respectable. This is why we have a country full of wealthy men – that are divorced and miserable.

Be respectable men.

18 Troy Weiler January 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

To Jack Scott you couldn’t be more right. It’s amazing how much less guilt is involved if you just take the blame for your own mistake. So you made a mistake, instead of dwelling and thinking who you can take down for it spend that energy figuring out how to fix it. Or what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

19 Carter January 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Great advice! I especially like the one about dressing up a little. Not, too much, but just a little better than the slobs you work with. I find it make me feel better about going to work too.

20 Jack January 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm

- Give primary credit for your successes to your subordinates and fellow team members. They will remember this.
- Take the heat with your superiors for your subordinates’ screwups at least once per individual if it won’t get you fired, then deal with that person one-on-one. They will remember this even more.
- Do what you can (within reason) to make your boss look good to his/her boss.
- In addition to never missing a deadline: when asked when you can accomplish something, always add one more day than you think the project will take, if possible. This will allow you to almost always be ‘early’ while allowing you an extra day to get something done if disaster strikes.
- In a professional setting, use professional language. Profanity is unacceptable and makes you look like a troglodyte.
- Most importantly: give respect to get respect.

21 David Black January 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Great advice here, not just for the office, but for any kind of organisation where there is an established hierachy and chain of command.

22 KH January 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm

JMC – You are spot on. You must be able to live your values at work. By integrating your values in an appropriate way into the office setting you become invaluable to the company. My boss is an avid cyclist and has taken it upon himself to organize a commuter cycling group. As a result he has won awards for the company and potentially saved everyone money with reduced insurance rates by creating a wellness initiative. Another environmentalist employee encouraged our facilities manager to switch to reusable dishware which resulted in the company saving $12k/month and creating two full-time dishwashing jobs. That employee got a city-wide young professional honor for just persuing a personal value at work. When lay-offs come around these people have found a way to prove their worth above and beyond their daily duties and as a result they are retained.
How does this apply to you? If you are a great leader/organizer send a group email at the beginning of the month with key project dates for the month. Tech wiz? Centralize common links/resources on a secured web page for your office. Personable but don’t have kids? Volunteer to help out at the company picnic. Love running? Offer to be a representative for the company at corporate 5k’s and hand out shirts or bring water for amature runners from your company. Find your niche and you’ll also find you’re a go-to, respected employee regardless of your actual job title.

23 David Cassuto January 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm

To you all,

Maybe you can help me out: having read this very interesting post I feel like asking you how the mentioned behavior is typically something a man should do? Or is this not about manliness? I am working on a study about the consequences of the lack of manliness in organizations. I don’t know about America but here in Holland (as in The Netherlands) many especially governmental or semi-governmental organisations in my view tend to have a very feminine culture (for logical reasons). Even the men who work there seem to be: all about equality, expecting to share responsibility instead of taking it, having problems with confronting others with a clear no and then complaining to peers about the workload or giving emotional reasons for not delivering. Does anyone recognize this?

24 Matthew January 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Couldn’t have come at a better time! The past six months have been terribly stressful for me at work. I’m middle management and have begun to feel unnecessary pressure to be the best and work impossibly hard. This is all coming from myself. I need to let go a little… no a lot. My nerves at work have been creating pressure for the rest of my team because they’re slowly becoming afraid of me rather than respect me, and that’s the last thing I want. I’m not mean or harsh to anybody. just naturally “huffy-puffy kinda guy” as a co-worker of mine often comments.

Anyway, tomorrow is new day and I’m going to try my darnedest to just relax.

25 Lynda January 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm

David Cassuto,
I’m a woman who lives in Iowa, and I value this advice.

26 GM January 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Starting a post-graduation job search and I value the article.
In fact, I have been looking for some information on office etiquette for newly graduates. Can anyone share other good sources on the topic?

27 BallPtPenTheif January 6, 2011 at 12:24 am

Here’s another tip…

Even if overtime is mandatory, make it clear to your employer (in a non whiny way) that you have previously held engagements that might make it difficult to perform said overtime. Even if you don’t have shit to do, make something up. The goal here is to establish a “sacrifice” that you had to make in order to be there when they needed you.

You had to call a baby sitter and get the neighbor to feed the cat while Joe Shmoe in the next cubicle just said “Sure, no problem.” Who do you think will be remembered in the long run. Apathetic yes men or the fucking white collar martyr?

And it’s all tact, you don’t make a scene. Just a simple, “I don’t know Jim. The wife is out of town and I have the kids.. errr. You know what? Let me see who I can get to watch them and I’ll get back to you in 10 minutes.” Go take a dump, “It’s all good Jim. I was able to get a babysitter so we’re good to go.”

28 David Cassuto January 6, 2011 at 3:57 am

@Lynda,

Do you mean: The advice it is not necessarily talking about manliness, since I am a woman and I too value this advice. Or do you mean: As a woman I am well placed to recognize what kind of trouble too much femininity and a lack of manliness can cause and I therefore value this advice.

29 Keith Brawner January 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm

BallPtPenTheif: There is a line between managing appearance and dishonesty.

Thank you, Joe Weber, for the advice rendered. I had the opportunity to write down my own rules that I’ve lived my career by recently for a young coworker (“treat those underneath you well”), and I am amazed at the similarities presented here.

Brett, thank you for featuring wonderful articles, despite personal events, for us to appreciate and learn from.

30 Ken January 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Fantastic post! Great points and positively written. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Great advice to remember outside of the office as well.

31 Chris January 13, 2011 at 1:24 am

Great article!!! I wish I had been told this years ago.
I could add one of my own recent revelations…
It’s good to be the go-to guy but don’t let it become a problem….
I used to think that if I was the guy that could handle any issue that I would become an MVP and secure my role at my company. If a coworker needed help setting up email on his iPhone or help with a proposal or a hand moving his desk, I wanted to be the guy he could count on. The end result, my own work suffered. I now ask myself, “Is this guy being lazy and dumping on me? Or, is this someone else’s responsibility? Or, can it wait until I finish what I am working on?” I sincerely want to help others but I feel better about it when my work is caught up.

32 james edward dillard January 15, 2011 at 1:18 pm

why only a few bites of sheet cake?

33 Jeff January 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Great advice, treat people with respect. You have to deposit respect before you can withdrawal it from others. Also dressing nice is an outward sign of respecting your employer and the opportunity. I could probably cut down on the potty mouth stuff though.

34 Mike January 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm

#23-David Cassuto-

You are spot on! American government workplace culture has definitely been feminized, especially in law enforcement. Merit and good hard work on the toughest cases are no longer the keys to recognition or promotion: networking and relationships (including schmoozing and back-stabbing) are the keys!

Men who dare to be manly and speak up when necessary are neither appreciated nor valued; they are a threat to political correctness and wimp culture.

No wonder the big cases are being lost.

Stay manly, men!

35 Jack January 22, 2011 at 9:20 am

I keep fumbling my words at work in front of managers. Sometimes when I do something wrong at work, I don’t know how to handle being called out on it. Some people handle making mistakes gracefully, and laugh at it and learn from it. I on the other hand criticize myself in my head and end up having a sour looking face because I make myself feel bad.

Can any of you guys give some tips or advice on how I can get over this?

36 Dustin November 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

As surprising as it is, what you wear really does tell a lot about you. I told my wife, “I want to dress well so I will feel professional and that will come out in my work.”

I’ve experimented with it, wearing a v-neck and jeans (I work in an internet start-up so it’s pretty casual) and noticed I’m a little more lackadaisical with my work, whereas when I wear and modern fit and pressed button-down tucked in with nice khakis, I take greater pride in my work, as well as my relationships with co-workers.

37 Connor R. January 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Wonderful article, as I have come to love from this site. One thing I would suggest, or alter I guess, is the bit on dressing up. In my industry (mechanics) we have uniforms. Everyone wears the same clothes day in and day out. But, I have noticed the way you wear your uniform can gain you the same type of respect. The guys at our shop who leave their shirts un-tucked, or wear the same dirty uniforms for a few days are always getting snapped at by our manager to tuck them in, go change, etc. Also, in a workplace wear everyone looks the same, the way you present yourself is also important. Keep your head up, shoulders back, not slouched over. Gives a better impression to your boss and your customers.

38 Cindy January 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Good article, well written-
and to the point, great for us women too!
Thanks!

39 Susan January 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I’m glad you still have this up – especially that first bit! Once again, I got left out of a critical meeting. I know I’m on the opposite coast, but we DO have conference calling. I’ve been smacked down at a previous company for being ignorant of facts that were only shared during meetings I was not invited to; I’m a little sensitive.
Lighten up, indeed. It was an oversight, because we’re a startup and I’m siloed – like everyone else.

40 Laila February 22, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I would add: respect yourself (you are worth more than you think and definitely more than they think), but this is not be confused with being prideful/arrogant. That is definitely not good.

41 Smile March 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

Smile and focus on the good…you!

42 Corporationsville May 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Our company is run by people who haven’t the foggiest idea what they’re doing. The firm has grown too fast and its structure is built on a shaky foundation. There is a leadership vacuum and they’ve promoted the wrong people. Those who are most professional are scorned by those with more seniority and authority. In this environment, you can’t get ahead and there’s no point in trying. So you either keep a low profile or occasionally speak your mind. This crowd makes themselves look bad but nothing matters. There’s no leadership and no accountability, and the decisions (or lack of them) are hurting the business. Not every situation at work involves rationality, respect or the best ideas and highest level of professionalism winning out. That’s just how it is, and things can remain mediocre at a company for a long time. Forever, in fact. Just because they’re not number one doesn’t mean they’re going out of business. There are businesses that are like #10 in their industry and they can persist in their foolish ways until you retire, while promoting their friends and keeping good ideas (which threaten them) from taking root.

43 INC June 28, 2013 at 11:15 am

Corporationsville, I think we work at the same company.

44 Christine August 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

Thank you so much for this post. I teach at a private university. I try to tell my students who lace their speech and research papers with profanity (yes – research papers) that their language will work against them in the workplace. Most tell me that I have no idea how people now talk at work. I think I just need to make whole site required reading.

45 Rick January 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

Jack,
First thing to do is to repeat back what you’ve been told to make sure you understand correctly.
This does two things: It establishes that you really do understand the problem or exactly what was wrong. It also buys you a few moments of thinking time to consider your response.
If you did make an error, own it. If you understand why/how, then commit to making the error right, immediately. If you don’t understand why it’s wrong or how to fix it, ask for help.
Asking for help with something is manly and responsible. It’s the job of your managers to train you to do your job better, and you do that by learning to do new things and do things better.
Once you understand what happened and why, and you understand what needs to be done to fix it, and therefore avoid it happening again, repeat back. Summarize the whole thing so everyone understands that you know what happened, what to do, and what to do going forward.
Everyone makes mistakes. That uncomfortable feeling you have when being called out on them should be enough to motivate you to make sure you never repeat a mistake. Making the same errors over and over again is a very bad sign. If you find you’re making mistakes in your work, you need to invest some time and energy into making sure you know _exactly_ what you’re expected to deliver for the assignment. Making sure _exactly_ what’s needed in advance can help avoid a shitton of aggravation on both sides at the end of an assignment.
As far as fumbling your words, it’s normal to be nervous or flummoxed. Don’t be rushed into speaking. Take your time in answering. Saying “Well…” and then thinking for a moment or two is better than blathering unprepared. If you feel like you have a habit of stuttering or misspeaking, then pace yourself and speak each word slowly and clearly. Don’t give in to the desire to just let all the words come spilling out of you in a rush. Stop, breathe. Speak, pause, breathe. Be aware of your breathing. You can’t be understood if you’re not breathing. It takes time to communicate well, and it’s a skill that takes practice. But as long as you’re speaking mindfully and honorably, you will be given time to speak.
Relax, own your mistakes, repeat back for clarification, ask for help.

46 harmoine January 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

At workplace or school college, men and men can become friends, but the politics that women do is horrible, trust me a girl who is like a doormat and is nice to everyone is a worst thing that can happen to any girl. Bcos they have no one to help becos boys dont like her and girls just use her. It happens to me bt now it will not happen. Girls are very jealous and bitchy. Especially the girls have small mind and a big mouth. They say it without even confirmation. so guys u r still luckier!!

47 Paula February 13, 2014 at 5:14 pm

I just came across this. Totally great advice, especially the bit about not caring so much, while still caring enough. And it applies to everyone (men and women). Spot on.

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