We talked about several steps to advancing your career. One step is so important, I wanted to save it for its own post. You cannot hope to advance consistently in your career unless you learn to get along with your co-workers. Being unable to relate socially well, being unable or unwilling to help create a positive work environment, disrespecting your co-workers or your boss will get you fired and get a poor reference, perhaps even more quickly than having less than stellar skills.
Companies need people who prioritize teamwork, who go beyond the minimum of their job description, who are looked at well by their co-workers, who are known to be willing to help a co-worker get something important done under pressure. Being likable is very important for your career.
Likeability isn’t something you are born with, like charisma. Anyone can up their likeability with some positive effort.
Take an interest in your co-workers’ lives. Say more than, “how are you?” Get interested in your co-workers’ hobbies, families, and goals. Taking an active interest in what your co-workers do outside the office shows that you value them as a person, not just someone that makes your job easier. Remember that they play dodge ball in a league, that their son plays basketball. If they were out sick, ask how things are coming along now.
Actually, say hello or good morning as you come in each day. Simple courtesies and small talk can go a long way to brighten the mood. Mention the ball game everyone watched, or anything cheerful as you pass their desk. When you arrive at work, greet your co-workers you pass on the way to your desk. It’s a quick and easy way to be polite and show care.
Participate in post-work activities. It’s totally understandable to just want to get home after a long day. But every now and then, it’s good to show up when something is going on. Your presence means more than you might think. It strengthens relationships and builds the sense of team. If no one ever does anything you do the inviting. Even 20 minutes over a coke now and then says a lot.
Lend a helping hand. Don’t “silo”. Take an active interest in how your workplace is functioning as a whole. Helping with paperwork or a supply run will make you more likable, and will probably make your job easier in the long run. When the work is all getting done and everyone is happy, this means less stress for you.
Ditch gossip, criticism, and negativity. If you’re trying to up your likeability and keep your reputation intact, say no this trio of trouble. It eliminates your chance of getting caught talking behind a co-worker’s back, it makes you more approachable and trustworthy.
Read the radar all the time. When your office is under a time crunch, it’s time to get serious and “getter done.” People are busy and stressed, and don’t want to hear about the cute things your kid did last night or the Marc Madness brackets. Put your work face on, even if for some reason, you aren’t terrifically busy. Nothing is more annoying than some co-workers playing video games on their phone when you are over your head in a project you can’t get done. But sometimes the mood is light, and you need to roll with that, too. Grab a coffee with someone, hang out a bit at break. Don’t always be work and no play. Show you are relatable.
Clean up after yourself. Being a co-worker is like being a roommate. You are sharing common space, so make sure you are extremely respectful of all the places you use with other people. That’s virtually everywhere but your own desk. Take your papers from the copier. Keep the area around your desk orderly. Clean your own dishes in the kitchen. When you are courteous and clean, it shows all kinds of good things like respect to your teammates and your bosses,
You can be more likable. You just have to want it enough to do it.