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By: Dr. John T. Self

How Do I Get Respect at Work?
 

Q. I'm a fairly new assistant manager at a chain restaurant. The reason for this question is that I'm having a tough time getting my general manager to take me seriously and for that matter, the other assistant managers. I think it has a lot to do with the fact I'm female. He almost pats me on the head when I suggest something to him. I know he would never recommend me to get promoted. How can I get repect at work? Any ideas?
Signed, Frustrated

A. Yep, it is frustrating not to be taken seriously, no matter what the situation. Regardless of gender, here's some ideas that I feel will help you get respect at work:

1) It's safe to assume your manager will let you know what you're not doing things well enough... so maybe the question is, "Are you a perfectionist?" This hurts because it means you're spending way too much time on something that is damn near right. If you find yourself taking loads of time making sure that something is absolutely right, then you're not being efficient enough.

Take a look at your General Manager. What standard level does he require? If you're really not sure, ask. He may say that you are spending way too much time getting things perfect while ignoring other, equally important duties.

2) Don't take criticism personally. Many new managers (and some veteran ones too), take things to heart when they should just be acknowledged, dealt with, and moved past. When you are criticized, listen. Understand. Don't repeat the mistake and move on. Taking criticism personally will just make you internalize your frustration, and you'll find yourself losing confidence.

3) Be assertive. Don't start sentences with "I think this will work, but I'm not sure". Or "I'm not sure if this will work, but..." or "This probably won't work, but..." When you've thought out something, be positive and be secure.

4)Think about what you believe you do well and what you need to work on. Write it down. Then tell your manager that you would like to have a meeting with him to discuss your perceived strengths and weaknesses. You may be surprised at the discussion, but it is always best to know the real situation, rather than just the imagined. I'm sure your manager will be pleased at your aggressiveness and willingness to be the best manager that you can be.

About the author:  John T. Self is a lecturer at The Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly Pomona). Prior to entering academe, Dr. Self spent fifteen years in the restaurant industry. While in the corporate world, he worked for several chains including overseeing six restaurants with sales of over twenty million dollars. He has also owned three independent restaurants. While at Golden Gate University, he started the partnership with Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China and is continuing in that involvement at Cal Poly.

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