Disrespect can manifest itself in all sorts of ways in the office.
It can be obvious, or dangerously subtle. It can stem from the organizational culture, or just some bad eggs in the workplace. You can bring it upon yourself with unprofessional behavior, or be subjected to it due to no fault of your own.
No matter what, it’s important to recognize these tell-tale signs of disrespect if and when they crop up. If your coworkers are disrespecting you, you’re going to have to recognize it before you stop it.
1. You’re the subject of gossip
Okay, gossip is a part of pretty much every office. That’s just life.
However, if you’re constantly getting grinded through the workplace rumor mill, that’s an issue. Whether your colleagues are talking about your personal or professional life, it’s a sign that you’re not getting the respect you deserve.
2. You’re ignored
This is a sneaky form of disrespect. Things seem fine with your coworkers, but you feel like you’re just not being heard. No one listens to your pitches at meetings. Your office-wide emails go unread. Your concerns are brushed off at the water cooler.
J.T. O’Donnell wrote on LinkedIn that this “cold shoulder technique” could indicate that you don’t “add perceived value to the conversation” or you “make the conversation awkward, uncomfortable, or depressing.”
Whether you actually need to change or you’re just dealing with rude coworkers, it’s important not to kid yourself. People who don’t listen to you don’t take you seriously, at all.
3. Your ideas are stolen
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a colleague take credit for your work or steal your great idea. Sometimes, in a fast-paced workplace, this can happen without an malicious underlying motives. However, if this becomes a pattern, it’s a key sign that you’re being disrespected in the workplace.
Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Amy Gallo advises that people seek outside help to remedy the situation: “It can be uncomfortable to toot your own horn so find a third person who understands your contributions and can speak on your behalf in a meeting or when the project comes up in conversation.”
Standing up for yourself is the only way to fight back against this particular form of disrespect.
4. You’re (needlessly) reprimanded
If you mess up, you should brace for the possibility that your boss will call you out. However, if you’re dealing with coworkers who are not superior to you on the organizational hierarchy chastising you over minor situations, that’s an indication that there’s some bad blood in the office. As Forbes reported, constant, destructive criticism is a sure sign that you’re being targeted. Belittling, bullying behavior is not acceptable anywhere – let alone the workplace.
5. You notice tell-tale body language
Watch out for your colleagues’ body language when you’re talking to them. Distracted behavior, a lack of eye contact, sneering, or eye rolling are all pretty bad signs.
6. Your authority is constantly questioned or disregarded
Listen, office politics being what they are, you’re probably going to have to contend with at least a few colleagues jostling for power over the course of your career. However, if your authority is constantly being questioned, criticized, or skirted, you should probably take note – especially if your adversaries are on the same level or below you on the hierarchy. That’s a sign that your coworkers don’t take you seriously at all.
7. Your time isn’t valued
When you respect people, you don’t waste their time. “Don’t ask questions you can answer yourself, don’t plan meetings that you don’t need, and don’t take forever getting back to people,” says Erin Greenwald in an article for the Daily Muse.
In this case, the opposite is also true: when you don’t respect someone, you don’t see their time as valuable. That coworker who keeps interrupting and attempting to off-load their extra work on you isn’t just obtuse. They’re disrespectful of your precious time.
8. You feel frequently condescended to
Listen, you’re always going to have bad days at the office. However, a condescending coworker or group of colleagues can really make things unbearable.
It’s not too hard to pick out this type of behavior – as Lea McLeod writes for the Daily Muse, it’s designed to make you feel stupid: “This type of passive-aggressive behavior is meant to put you in your place, even though it’s often disguised as reasonable or friendly. Think of it as sugarcoated antagonism.”
9. You aren’t included in conversations
Art Markman writes in Fast Company that if you’re left out of one or two large emails, don’t freak out. It’s probably just an accident.
However, if you feel like you’re consistently getting excluded from important discussions, that’s a problem. It likely means that your colleagues don’t value your contributions.
10. You’re lied to
This one’s pretty obvious. If your coworkers aren’t even willing to tell you the truth, they probably don’t really respect you – regardless of their motives.
11. You have a bad feeling
If you feel disrespected at work, don’t just bottle up those feelings. Grapple with the idea. Consider whether or not you’re being oversensitive or misunderstanding something. If you stay honest with yourself and that doesn’t seem to be the case, then there’s a strong chance that your coworkers aren’t treating you properly – which is unacceptable.