How Can You Be Taken Seriously at Work?

July 19, 2023
Posted in Questions
July 19, 2023 Terkel

How Can You Be Taken Seriously at Work?

Navigating a work environment where you’re not taken seriously can be challenging. To shed light on this issue, we sought advice from seasoned professionals ranging from community managers to founders and CEOs. From enhancing skills and taking initiative to staying true and confident in work, discover powerful strategies that helped these individuals gain respect and seriousness in their workplace.

  • Enhancing Skills and Taking Initiative
  • Teaching Through Vocabulary Tests
  • Building Relationships and Demonstrating Expertise
  • Networking and Coworker Alliances
  • Supporting Ideas With Evidence
  • Seeking Mentorship for Professional Growth
  • Speaking Up and Showing Interest
  • Voicing Concerns and Standing Ground
  • Staying True and Confident in Work

Enhancing Skills and Taking Initiative

Yes, I have been in such a situation. It was not a fun experience, but I’m proud to say that I overcame it.

First, I enhance my professional skills by demonstrating expertise in the field. Over time, I earned respect and credibility by continuously improving my knowledge and skills through training and workshops, and by staying up-to-date with industry trends.

Second, I took the initiative. Proactively taking on additional responsibilities and contributing valuable ideas showed my dedication and commitment to the organization’s goals.

Third, I mastered communication skills by becoming very articulate verbally and in writing. By polishing this vital skill, I’ve been able to present my opinions confidently while providing well-reasoned arguments to support my perspectives.

Building credibility and being taken seriously takes time but is worthwhile, but only if you do it for the right, intrinsic reasons.

Peter BrylaPeter Bryla
Community Manager, ResumeLab

Teaching Through Vocabulary Tests

I worked in a language school as an English teacher, and my students were business people. They didn’t treat me seriously because of my age and youthful appearance, which felt terribly unfair. I already had a decent educational background and some professional experience.

Though their English was at an elementary level, they kept asking me endless hard questions to suggest I lacked knowledge. Let me give a few examples. While talking about animals, they asked me about a tigon, a blue tang, and even a naked mole rat, making funny faces when I told them I needed to check these names in a dictionary.

When we moved to the unit “Household,” they were desperate to discuss textured plaster and building mortar. I was tired of being constantly examined.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I started each class with a vocabulary test, including a naked mole rat and so on. I stopped when they stopped. It didn’t take them long to learn THAT lesson.

Agata SzczepanekAgata Szczepanek
Community Manager, MyPerfectResume

Building Relationships and Demonstrating Expertise

As a CEO, I have faced situations where I felt that my opinions or ideas were not taken seriously in a work environment. To overcome this challenge and establish credibility, I took proactive steps to be taken seriously at work.

First, I focused on building strong relationships and establishing rapport with my colleagues and team members. I attempted to understand their perspectives, listen actively, and engage in meaningful conversations. By showing respect and valuing their input, I earned their trust and credibility.

Second, I consistently showed my expertise and knowledge in my field. I sought opportunities to showcase my skills, whether through delivering impactful presentations, sharing insights in meetings, or contributing to important projects. By consistently delivering high-quality work and offering valuable contributions, I established myself as a credible and capable professional.

Sai Blackbyrn
Sai Blackbyrn, CEO, Coach Foundation

Networking and Coworker Alliances

As the CEO of Bemana, a recruiting firm working in the equipment and industrial sector, I’ve experienced being underestimated in this male-dominated field. The best revenge is a job well done, but sometimes the power of word-of-mouth is needed to land the project.

Networking is crucial in these situations. To be taken seriously among people I haven’t worked with before, I rely on a tight-knit alliance of coworkers and colleagues ready to vouch for me at a moment’s notice. Surrounding myself with like-minded hard workers allows me to shine through their recommendations, even in the face of bias.

Developing these connections can happen quicker than you think—it just requires an excellent track record, a friendly demeanor, and a willingness to point out your victories.

Linn AtiyehLinn Atiyeh
CEO, Bemana

Supporting Ideas With Evidence

I think everyone has been when they, or their idea, weren’t taken seriously at work. What has worked for me is sharing evidence to back up my idea or claim.

Sometimes, colleagues don’t care to be open to other perspectives, but if you offer actual reasons for them to take a second look, they can’t help but oblige.

Rather than engaging in a never-ending debate, I’ve found it helpful to put numbers behind it.

Kelli AndersonKelli Anderson
Career Coach, Resume Seed

Seeking Mentorship for Professional Growth

In a work environment where I wasn’t taken seriously, I sought mentorship or coaching to improve my professionalism and credibility. I approached a senior colleague who had a strong reputation and asked if they would mentor me.

Through regular meetings, I received valuable guidance on navigating the workplace, enhancing my communication skills, and building trust with my colleagues. The mentor also helped me identify blind spots and areas for improvement.

By seeking external guidance, I gained fresh perspectives and strategies that I may have overlooked on my own. This approach showed my willingness to seek help and continuous growth, leading to eventually being taken more seriously at work.

Jason CheungJason Cheung
Operations Manager, Credit KO

Speaking Up and Showing Interest

I have worked for a company where my peers didn’t take me seriously at all. They talked behind my back. I didn’t get the best opportunities like my peers and was usually the last pick for a new project. I realized it was because I was too submissive.

So, I spoke up. I asked questions and showed interest in things. I slowly built a better relationship with those around me. Eventually, I was treated with the respect I deserved.

CJ Lloyd
CJ Lloyd, CEO, Utah’s Best Home Pros

Voicing Concerns and Standing Ground

Sometimes in my career where I have not been taken seriously by higher-ups. This usually occurred during meetings where my opinion would get dismissed by those in attendance.

To overcome this, I voiced my concerns. I communicated to my coworkers that I did not appreciate their tone and would like to continue the course of my communication. This proved to work in my favor, as I could stand my ground during meetings.

I got my ideas across to all members of the meeting. This was a turning point in my career and defined the future trajectory of my professional career.

Perry ZhengPerry Zheng
Founder and CEO, Pallas

Staying True and Confident in Work

It’s challenging to be taken seriously, particularly when being younger than most people in the room. Working with much older people often creates a feeling of needing to prove oneself above others and having to do more to be taken as seriously.

Has there been a situation of being laughed out of a room or shrugged off? No, and such a situation would never be tolerated. However, younger, less experienced individuals often face an uphill battle in being taken as seriously as others in the workplace, especially in difficult, prestigious industries like the legal world.

The approach is to continue being true to oneself and stay on the chosen path. Doing the work that is believed in, trusting oneself, and remaining confident in the future direction is key.

Being open to listening to others is important, but it’s also crucial not to be swayed as easily as some might think because of a strong dedication.

Michael LeelandMichael Leeland
Manager, Brazeau Seller Law

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