COMPANY CULTURE / AUG. 10, 2015
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5 Reasons Coworkers Are Not Listening to You

You might like your job and don’t mind getting up and going to work every day, but it can be frustrating and discouraging if it feels like nobody listens when you speak. Your coworkers might ignore or gloss over your contributions during meetings, or they might walk away while you’re speaking mid-sentence.

See Also: How to Listen Like a Pro

If you’re absolutely positive that your coworkers don’t listen to you, it’s important to get to the root of the problem. It’s easy to point the finger and argue that they’re picking on you or trying to alienate you from the group, but there could be other reasons you’re not being heard.

The truth is, there might be something about your personality that turns them off. So, before you get upset or think you’re being treated unfairly, here are a few possible reasons why your coworkers don’t listen to you.

1. You Complain, But Don't Offer Solutions

No matter where you work, there are going to be problems — either with your employer or your actual job. While shooting the breeze with your coworkers, there’s nothing wrong with venting and getting a few things off your chest. Everyone does this from time to time. But if you’re the type of person who complains about everything and you never have anything positive to say, your coworkers might view you as a chronic complainer who stirs up unnecessary drama in the office. You may complain about every situation, yet never offer a solution.

Rather than complain and spread your negativity, brainstorm possible solutions to problems in the workplace and share these with your employer and coworkers. If you can turn your frustrations into something constructive, your coworkers are more likely to pay attention to you.

2. You're a "Know-It-All" Who Doesn't Listen

You might know your job and have a lot of experience, but this doesn’t mean you’re the smartest person in the office. You and your coworkers are a team. And like any team, you need to collaborate, share ideas, and respect the opinions and views of each other.

If you’re not a team player, but rather a person who likes to make all the decisions — thinking you know what’s best for everyone and the company, you might turn off some of your coworkers. You should never dismiss another person’s ideas simply because you didn’t think of them, nor should you talk over people in order to get your point across.

You can’t expect your coworkers to listen to you if you don’t listen to them. If you’re the type of person who has to have the final say and never lets anyone get a word in, don’t expect your coworkers to give you the time of day. In their minds, you might be someone who talks entirely too much, or a person who talks just to hear himself speak. If you want to get your coworkers on board with your ideas and get them to start listening to you, you need to treat them the way you want to be treated, which means listening as they speak.

3. Exaggeration Is Your Middle Name

Your coworkers might also stop listening to you if they doubt what comes out of your mouth, or if they don’t trust you. If you’re an animated person who’s very passionate and emotional, you might have a long-drawn out story for everything, and everything that happens to you is worse than what anyone else goes through. You may always make yourself look like the victim so you don’t have to take responsibility for your actions.

Your coworkers might listen to your sob stories at first, but if they start doubting the truthfulness of your statements, or feel that you’re exaggerating and making a mountain out of molehills, they’ll eventually wise up and tune you out. They have a lot of their plate, and they don’t have time to entertain drama, especially if you bring up the same issues over and over again.

To regain your coworkers trust and get them to start listening to you again, leave the drama at the door and always be honest when speaking with them. You don’t want people rolling their eyes or walking in the other direction as you approach. It might take some time to change their opinion of you. But as they notice less exaggeration and drama from you, they’ll start paying attention and listening to your contributions.

4. You're a Braggart

Work is where you go to make money, not showoff. Do you have a habit of always bringing up your big house, fancy cars and talking about your fabulous lifestyle? If so, your coworkers might label you braggart and keep their distance.

Of course, there’s a difference between being excited about something and bragging. There’s nothing wrong with sharing details about your life. But if every conversation you have with coworkers is about your money, lifestyle and what you recently purchased, others might feel you’re being showy and stop listening.

Conversations shouldn’t be one-way, nor should a conversation be all about you. Get to know your coworkers on a personal level. So instead of talking about yourself: what did they do this weekend? As a rule of thumb, if the majority of your conversations revolve around your life and material possessions, find something new to talk about. Nobody wants to have a conversation with someone who feels he’s superior.

5. You Don't Think Before You Speak

Unfortunately, if you’re the type of person who doesn’t think before he speaks, this can also drive a wedge between you and your coworkers, causing them to stop listening to you.

Thinking before you speak is basically considering how others will respond to what’s about to come out of your mouth. You might think of yourself as the funny guy in the office who makes jokes and teases people. But you have to consider whether your actions are appropriate or not. Others might get offended by comments they feel are too personal. And if you’re constantly making jokes at another person’s expense, this could turn off your coworkers.

To fix this problem, it’s important to be observant and watch how your coworkers respond to your remarks. Also, you need to remember that your coworkers aren’t part of your inner circle, so they might not be your friends. What’s acceptable in your circle might be considered inappropriate in the office. If you offend someone, speak with this person privately and apologize, and then do everything possible to avoid the behavior in the future. If you can demonstrate to others that you’re taking steps to improve your behavior and not offend, it’ll be easier to get on the same page as your coworkers and they’ll start listening as you speak.

See Also: How to Become an Active Listener in the Workplace

People tend to listen to those who have something positive to say, and those who don’t offend or talk too much. If one of your coworkers doesn’t listen to you, the problem may have nothing to do with you. But if all your coworkers ignore you and never want to listen to what you say, look within yourself, determine the reason, and then make positive changes so you can begin contributing to the group.

Are your coworkers ignoring you? Can you relate to any of the signs above? Or do you think, there must be something else wrong with your coworkers? Let us know in the comments section below.

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