What to Do If Some People on Campus Don’t Take You Seriously


How do people respond to you?

It’s no secret that I love showing my clients how to have more influence on campus and how to build stronger relationships with their coworkers. Anyone can become a more effective leader, regardless of their demographics.

Occasionally, I get a call from someone who feels discriminated against because of their ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, height, weight, or any other characteristics that leave them feeling powerless. They feel their voices aren't heard and their opinions don't matter to senior leaders. 

Is discrimination real? You bet it is!

But it is not necessarily the reason why someone isn’t taken seriously in the workplace.

While thinking you are being discriminated against is a horrible feeling, the payoff is being able to blame someone else for your circumstances, leaving you off the hook. If you are not the cause of the problem, it’s not your responsibility to fix it, right?   

But guess what? When you stop assuming that people’s reasons to treat you poorly are based on discrimination, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.

Not everyone responds to you based on your ethnicity, age, gender, religion, marital status, height, or weight. It is possible that some people don’t take you seriously because of your own behavior.

Have you damaged your own credibility?

Here are some common behaviors that lead people to stop taking someone seriously.

  • Lacking confidence.
  • Not keeping your word.
  • Not finishing what you started.
  • Changing your mind often without communicating reasons.
  • Lacking emotional intelligence.
  • Wasting people’s time.
  • Being dismissive.
  • Complaining and criticizing.
  • Making excuses.
  • Bending the truth or even lying.
  • Venting or gossiping.
  • Constantly seeking external validation.
  • Playing favorites.
  • Being a know-it-all.
  • Judging entire groups of people.
  • Exaggerating facts and problems.
  • Being a pleaser.
  • Being unreliable.
  • Not owning your words, actions, or decisions.
  • Playing the victim.
  • Making generalizations. 
  • Being unrealistic or unreasonable.
  • Being easy to manipulate.
  • Being far too talkative.
  • Over-stepping and using authority you don’t have.
  • Being unclear in your communication.
  • Being confrontational.
  • Being judgmental.
  • Being sarcastic.
  • Being pessimistic.
  • Being self-serving.
  • Showing self-doubt chronically.
  • Lacking vision and clarity.
  • Wanting to be right and correcting others.
  • Not truly listening to others.
  • Being too rigid or controlling.
  • Being too casual.
  • Procrastinating or avoiding what is uncomfortable.
  • Not being trustworthy.
  • Being too unpredictable.
  • Not keeping people accountable.
  • Making too many exceptions.
  • Lacking courage.
  • Being chronically overwhelmed.
  • Looking like you can’t handle your workload.
  • Expressing frustration and anger in the workplace.
  • Needing to have the final word.
  • Being defensive.
  • Being resistant to change.
  • Creating delays and roadblocks.

Well, look at that! I was planning to give 8 to 10 examples and 50 poured out of me in seconds!

It’s because I have heard far too many administrators tell me that their misfortune was due to people’s unfair treatment, when they were in fact causing their own problems. We are all guilty at times of exhibiting some of these behaviors but doing it frequently has costly consequences.

It’s a vicious circle. People don’t see how they hurt their own credibility. Then, they feel discriminated against and victimized. They become resentful and defeated. That gives them more to complain about. They stop seeing solutions, only problems. The more they complain and display some of the behaviors I listed above, the harder they make it for others to take them seriously...

The good news is that you can change how the majority of people treat you.

I can’t show you how to make a racist person stop being racist but I can show you how to stop getting in your own way. The first step is to become more self-aware. What damaging behaviors do you observe in yourself? Please find the courage to face the truth because you have enormous power to change yourself and the results you create around you.  

Do you see what is beautiful about this? What you need isn’t to become thinner, taller, shorter, whiter, younger, or older. You don’t have to change yourself at all. You only need to modify some of your behaviors. You have the power to turn things around. You are not a victim!

It’s not about your ethnicity, age, gender, religion, marital status, height, or weight. It’s about how you show up at work (and in life). It’s about what you do and how you make people feel. Become the kind of leader who commands respect and you won't feel dismissed anymore.

Do you want to be taken more seriously? Consider working with me to make your journey much easier and more successful. You can’t change other people but you can improve yourself. It will be good not only for your career, but for all aspects of your life. You will feel happier and more empowered. All of your relationships will improve. What are you waiting for?  Click here to schedule a complimentary call and discuss how we can work together to make it happen.

About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits.  Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset. 

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