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7 Steps to Gain Authority and Increase Respect in the Workplace

The office remains the final frontier of Caveman life. The workplace is still a jungle, in the eyes of many.  It is a laboratory of Darwinism in practice. Every day is a survival of the fittest.  Some people advance, while others get canned. Some people seemingly have all of the company tasks fall upon their shoulders, while others seem to skate by without ever doing real work. Employees vie for the attention of their bosses, often pitted against one another. A cut throat office environment breeds mistrust, envy, and competition.  

The last thing you want to do is get left behind. Corporations move fast. In our Capitalist societies, companies must always stay one step ahead of the competition in order to be profitable and successful. That means the office place is competitive, and always looking for leaders who take control of their work, display utmost competence, and help their companies remain competitive. 

In order to survive in the corporate jungle, an employee must command respect earn the trust of superiors.  The only way to accomplish this is to be seen as an authority. There are several important steps to gaining that authority.  

Since we all spend the majority of our day in an office, or working with others, these are seven important rules for gaining authority in the workplace:

1) Dress is the first impression.

First impressions are the most important impressions. Your appearance is your first impression, before any other words are spoken. Dressing poorly will automatically undermine your authority.  You don’t need to spend a ton of money to look sharp and put together.  Invest in some nice clothes. Make the first impression a strong one.

2) Handshake is the second impression.

The handshake should be firm and solid.  A weak handshake sets off so many bad signals that it can be hard to recover from. The number of pumps depends on the person you can are shaking with.  There are many cultural variations on the introductory handshake.  In the United States, we tend to pump about three times.  Of course, a handshake is usually reserved for a first meeting, and doesn’t particularly apply to the colleagues you work with on a daily basis. But it really isn’t hard to give a firm handshake, and yet it is so important.  

3) Don’t hide at meetings.

Make yourself known.  Be present, be visible, and be heard.  You will never get ahead if people don’t know that you even exist.  Be the person that has a presence, and has an opinion.  You were not hired by the company to not do anything. You were hired because you are intelligent, hard working, and you have an opinion that matters.  So let it known.

4) Stand up while you speak.

Your voice is closely linked to your body and physicality. When you stand and gesticulate, you project more energy and dominance. By standing up, you can actually make your voice sound more authoritative.  Try it out.  Try standing up in meetings.  Try standing up while you are on the phone.  This is a small thing, but it can make a big difference.

5) Don’t turn statements into questions.

Never answer a question with a question. Tell people what you want.  Do not ask what you want. By allowing the tone of your voice to rise at the end of a sentence, you subconsciously undermine your own authority by treating your statements as questions.  This happens quite often.  It’s a bad habit, and it must be broken.  When somebody asks a question, give them a firm answer.  

6) Don’t lead with a disclaimer.

Declare your thoughts without judgment and let others decide what they think. Don’t start off your sentences with “This may be stupid, but…,” or “This may not work…”  Similar to the above, this is a bad habit that too many people do, often subconsciously.  It sets a bad tone for your statements, and it allows you to be undermined immediately.  Instead, just say what is on your mind, and believe in what you are saying.  It is amazing what a difference that makes.  

7) Learn to say “No.”

Be honest about your limitations.  There is no point in trying to be good guy. Especially if it leads to bad work.  If you are the person that allows others to hand their work off to you, stop it immediately.  Stand up to other people in your workplace. People will respect you more for being honest rather than taking on too many assignments.

Interviews and Negotiations

In a one-on-one context, such as an interview or a negotiation, there are several interesting dynamics taking place.  In both cases, you are trying to achieve a dominant position, and dictate the flow of conversation.  This may seem difficult in an interview, where you are naturally in the submissive position, since you are the one that must impress the others in order to get the job you desire. But it doesn’t have to the be that way.  

Your goal in an interview is to present yourself as somebody who is competent, ambitious, qualified, and a person the company absolutely must hire for that position.  Your goal in a negotiation is to achieve the best outcome possible for your position, while also achieving a consensus that is fair for both parties.

But in both an interview or a negotiating situation something with someone, there are two things that you must convey:  a) you are attentive and b) you are in control. First, you must let the other party know that you are listening, and you respect their opinions.  Some typical signs and signals that a person is reflecting on their answer include:

  • Eyes look away and return to engage contact only when answering.

  • Finger stroking on chin.

  • Hand to cheek.

  • Head tilted with eyes looking up.

Second, you must show that you know what you’re talking about, and you are in control. You can achieve this physically by doing several motions:

  • Keep your hands on the table, not below the table.

  • Nod your head and engage eye contact.

  • Stand up from time to time to show comfortability and dominance

  • If possible, try to sit the right of your counterpart, as opposed to directly across from them (as normal)

The Caveman on Self-Esteem & Never Accepting Failure


Self-esteem is the way that you think of yourself, your self-image. But more than self-image, esteem is the way that you talk to yourself inside your head: your self-talk 

Most people are talking NEGATIVELY to themselves instead of talking POSITIVELY.

Positive self-talk is one of the biggest indicators of self-confidence and self-esteem.  On the flip side,  negative self-talk is one of the primary causes of low self-esteem, giving up, and a lack of interest in even trying.  IMG 0146 300x300 The Caveman on Self Esteem & Never Accepting Failure

As a society, we often blame a person’s low self-esteem on outside factors. The way they were treated by their parents. The way that school children or work colleagues treat them. The images they see in the media: super-thin models, good-looking artists, successful businessmen, etc. 

These are all elements that can contribute to low self-esteem, yes.  But the root cause of esteem is still internal: the way you perceive yourself, and the thoughts that you have about yourself.

It’s a very serious issue.  And certainly not something that can be solved in a single book.  Many people, young people especially, have deep-rooted confidence issues which stem from horrible upbringings, traumatic experiences, and a real belief that, no matter what they do in life, they can never get ahead and succeed.

These beliefs, which manifest themselves at an early age, take root and create a lifetime of agony, pain, bitterness, and suffering.  This can lead to worse societal issues, like violence, crime, hatred, or just plain apathy.

So how can you eliminate low self-esteem?  It doesn’t happen overnight, but there are certain steps to achieve it.

How to Gain Self-Esteem:


1.     Make a commitment to be nice to yourself.  

Start talking positively to yourself. That is the single greatest thing that you can do for your own self-esteem. Be encouraging, and be positive. Positive talk is at the root of all achievement and success. Make a daily practice out of saying nice things to people, and making positive statements about yourself. It may sound silly, but actually talk to yourself in the morning, when you are looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror. Make direct statements about your day – “I will close that sale.” “I will go tot the gym.”  ”I’m going to look amazing in that new outfit.”  I know that it’s super corny, but it does actually work.  I’ve never admitted this before, but I speak to myself, when nobody else is looking.  I make these positive affirmations, like Stuart Smalley from SNL. (I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and people like me.”) 

2.     Learn that it is okay to make mistakes.  

We all do. I make more mistakes than I care to admit. In this one blog post alone I’ve probably made five mistakes. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing. I love writing, I love working on this blog, and it brings me happiness. To be honest, I don’t really care if I make little mistakes.  Life keeps moving on. Learn to forgive yourself of mistakes and shortcomings. Imperfections are what make you perfect. Focus more on the big picture stuff. Work on getting that right. You can make small mistakes, so long as you are nailing the big stuff. 

3.     Exercise and breathe.  

It is well known that exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good. Daily exercise actually gives you more energy throughout the day.  Deep breathing will have the same effect. It is amazing that one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies is deep breathing. Everyone is breathing all the time – it is a natural action. However, nobody actually concentrates on their breathing during the course of the day. Therefore, nobody is breathing with proper technique. My daily ritual includes waking up early to work out – either doing yoga or doing a circuit training. Yoga is the best workout, because it forces you to concentrate on your breathing, and to practice daily mindfulness. 

4.     Stop abusing drugs.  

This may not be applicable to everyone, but a lot of people with self-esteem issues get caught in the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, lies, and self-loathing.  I’ve attended a couple AA meetings in the past, and I was shocked at the number of people – old and young – that attend on a daily basis.   There are more people than you realize who suffer from addiction issues. Addiction is the leading result of low self-esteem and self-worth.   If you believe that you might be one of them, then seek help.  There is a community out there that is more than willing to help you.  

5.    Don’t live inside of your own head.  

Talk to someone.  Seek counseling.  Write your thoughts down on paper.  It is very important to talk to others, and realize that your problems are not your own.  Human beings are a communal people, so we need the community in order to feel good.  Don’t live in a vacuum.

Seeking change

To change our emotion requires changing two different core beliefs about self image. The first core belief is that we are not good enough.  The second core belief to change is the image of success that we feel we should be. False self-images of perfection cause of low self-esteem and lack of confidence.  We must not seek perfection. We must realize that we are all special because we are all created in the image of God, therefore ever single individual has special value and was put onto this earth for reason. 

Finally, remember this important quote from Ghandi on change:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your destiny.”

As I said before, it’s not as simple as reading several blog posts with bullet points, a magazine article, or a TV show.  It takes a real commitment to be positive and focus on mental health.   

You cannot escape your own self-image, and you can not exceed it.  What you can do, however, is change it. Your personal self-image can absolutely be managed, modified, and manipulated.  It can be reverse-engineered to erase all negative or self-limiting beliefs, to create a new internal message of power and positivity.

We are our own self-fulfilling prophecies.   We are a product of our internal beliefs and thoughts.  

Whatever you don’t do as a way of routine or discipline has a way of not getting done.  

You are what you constantly do.   Your internal core beliefs eventually become your daily habits.   

So focus on changing your core thoughts.  Allows those thoughts to be positive and loving. Allow those thoughts to manifest themselves in your daily actions.   

IMG 1701 300x174 The Caveman on Self Esteem & Never Accepting Failure


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