work discussion around laptop

How You Are Silently Signaling Your Co-workers to Treat You

It could be a look or how you walk into a room. Your co-workers have been trained to recognize these signals and treat you accordingly. We learn these social cues at a young age.

It’s hard to break these habits. We can’t walk around with a friend who is willing to hold a giant mirror so we can see how we look in every situation.

What can I do? I want my co-workers to like me and treat me with respect.

I used two easy tricks that worked well for me. I was not a naturally outgoing person who wanted to enter the room with a bang. You may be shy too, but you can learn to adjust your body signals so people like and respect you. You’ll be giving me silent thanks when your co-workers start smiling when you walk in the room.

If you want everyone to like you then…

Treat Everyone Like Family

The best way to be liked is to like others. I know that we’ve all heard this, but it’s true. When you walk into the room think of them as family and know that they love you even if they don’t show it.

When I stopped worrying about what people at work thought of me, I just treated everyone like they were a brother or sister. If they did something stupid I laughed. If I did something stupid I laughed at myself. Family is meant to share in misery and victory. So allow these people into your life. You don’t need to tell them about your latest ailment and what the doctor is doing for you, but share your feelings with them. The key is to try learning how to open up the emotional barrier that will bring you closer. This works for co-workers too.

Make sure you start slowly when you become friendlier to your co-workers. The best way is not to start right off talking about yourself, but listening to them. People want to be around great listeners because they can do all the talking. You’ve noticed how most people just want to tell you about their lives. Let them do it, and the next time you see them ask how their son, daughter or whatever they talked about was doing. You’ve just made a friend for life.

Getting people to like you is not that hard. Make sure that they know you like them first. People don’t want to put themselves out there and get burned, but now you know better. The only way to make friends is to give 60% and only expect 40% back. This works in any relationship whether it be personal or business related.

By treating everyone as family, your body signals should change. When you love someone you are more confident and willing to approach them. You aren’t afraid of what they think because you have the family connection.

Do you appreciate every moment you have with friends and family like it's your last? Being grateful for the people, moments and things in your life will help you live longer and build a more resilient mindset. See how grateful you are with the Gratitude Quiz.

Retrain How They View You

I’m a man of average height: 5’ 10” with shoes on. I have soft brown eyes and a pleasant demeanor. This doesn’t command respect in most organizations, so I have to work for it.

You can retrain how a person views your body signals by showing them how you want to be treated. This is hard for the shy person because it means you have to be assertive. It’s very simple. If you walk into a room and someone tries to intimidate you with a loud voice, you do your best to mirror their response. Easy to write, but hard to implement.

You can practice this by actually having a work shop at home with friends and family. A workshop at home? Are you crazy? Well, if you want to put it that way then yes. I want you to practice with people that you trust. Try to explain what is happening at work and roleplay with them until you have it down. Then when you go into work try relaxing and just having fun with the person as you respond back. See above Treat Everyone Like Family to take on this mindset.

The world often will laugh with you if you are laughing. Most people want you to reciprocate the greeting that they've given you. If they are excited to see you then let them know you appreciate it with an excited greeting back. This will gain you respect because it shows that you aren’t afraid of that person. We are still animals and people can sense fear by the way you position your body. So by mimicking their reaction you are telling them that you belong on their level.

I had trouble with bullying at work a few years ago. The group picking on me wouldn’t have called it bullying, but it was and it bothered me. They made fun of me, in a little brother way. Laughing at my clothes or a comment I made. I would get upset and just wait for them to get tired and stop teasing me. One time I blew up and let them know that they were going too far. They stopped for a little while, but eventually their old habits came back, so I tried a new tactic. I began to laugh with them, joining in on making fun of me. I never put myself down, but was always willing to laugh at myself. They understood this type of behavior and began treating me as a friend. You can’t take things too personally at work, otherwise your thin skin will bleed, not literally but figuratively. You’ll slowly get angrier and work will only get worse.

Please don’t try to change your personality. You need to be you, but following the social rules at your work will help you get the respect that you need.

Love and Respect at Work

You deserve to have a great working environment and I will write about design, managers, and great companies, but one of the greatest skills you can learn is to enhance your emotional intelligence. People with a high EQ are the ones that make friends and enjoy their job.

Improving your EQ is easy when you take baby steps. Most people don’t come out of college with a high EQ, it’s something they slowly develop through the years. Next time you feel like you aren’t getting the love and respect that you deserve, try to give them the love that they need or use the mirroring technique. Your EQ will jump a few points, making working life just a little more enjoyable.

One tip that I want to share with you before you click away I try to always teach my clients is to have trust in their superpowers. That means doing work that excites you, gets you in the zone and comes easy to you. If you aren't doing work that plays to your superpowers then people won't come to you for help. When they aren't coming to you for help they don't think they can trust you. Building people's trust by being amazing at what you do makes it a lot easier to earn respect.

What is your greatest emotional strength? Mine would probably be the ability to see situations from multiple angles. Responding to this question is not about being conceded; it’s about understanding who you are at work and how to maximize your potential. So let us know what makes you good at what you do.