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Four Ways To Show Respect Without Overdoing It

Source  | FastCompany : By ANETT GRANT

It’s normal to err on the side of being respectful, especially if you’re at the earlier stages of your career, meeting new colleagues, or wooing a prospective client or hiring manager. No one wants to look presumptuous or too informal for the situation.

But it’s possible to go overboard and leave the wrong impression, too. Showing too much respect turns into deference, which can work against you for other reasons. You can end up flattening yourself off and hiding your personality in contexts when you really need it to shine, and you run the risk of being seen as lacking leadership presence.

The good news is you can strike a balance between being respectful and being overly deferential. Here’s how.

1. FOCUS ON AUTHENTICITY

When you show deference, you tend to hide your true self—you’re too worried about making room for others. You’re afraid to show your best, so you describe your ideas plainly or tentatively, with little sign of pride, satisfaction, or confidence. You answer questions carefully to avoid any possibility of offense. In short, you become a sheepish follower, afraid to put yourself out there. If you’re asked about growth, for example, you might simply state, “We managed to grow revenues by 15%, in line with expectations.”

You can still be respectful, though, while putting your best self out there for those in authority to see. You’re proud of your ideas and accomplishments, and you’re not afraid to say what you really think—tactfully and within reason, of course. All this takes is being open, forthright, and authentic, which isn’t always easy to do in tricky business situations.

But the main the idea here is to respect others’ leadership while showing that you have leadership potential as well. If you’re asked about growth, you might instead say, “By launching a major promotion, we were able to deliver on our commitment of 15% revenue growth.” Same information, totally different message.

Read On…

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