You may not think being popular among your peers should be among your top work priorities, but being the most liked person in the office can impact your success. Likable people are more likely to have wider social networks to call upon. Plus, the relationships you have with the people you work with can make the difference between a great day and a terrible one.
Follow these seven tips and boost your likability:
Executive coach Leigh Ann Errico recommends making time on your schedule to check in with people on a "human level" rather than only coming around when you want something. "If you know there is a big life event that’s upcoming, show interest," she says. Take your watercooler chat to the next level, replacing the bland, "How are you?" with, "How is the wedding planning coming along?" or, "Has your son decided which college he will attend?" This shows you value your coworker as a person, not just their work.
Show people that you not only care about your success, but theirs as well. When someone gets a promotion, take the time to congratulate them. Errico says you can even go the extra mile by writing out a congratulations card or taking them out to lunch to celebrate. "Your likability will improve when you focus on others in a supportive way," she says.
"Nothing derails your likability more than ego," says Jennifer Blank, HR manager at McGarrah Jessee. Roll up your sleeves whenever needed. Offer to help others complete time-sensitive projects, even when it’s not your job. "You’ll earn gold stars when the folks you work with know you’ve got everyone’s best interest at heart, and that you can be counted on to contribute your fair share to the workload," says Blank.
Do you act like you’re on a mission while at work? If so, making time outside the workplace can help you show your softer side. By participating in the company’s softball league or happy hour, you can convey a more affable vibe without sacrificing business results.
While no one likes showcasing their failures, owning up to your mistakes and offering a sincere apology if needed can go a long way to improving your likability. "Hiding failures or diverting blame will corrode your reputation," says Blank.
It sounds so simple, yet smiling is one of the most overlooked practices. Smiling can make a powerful statement and be a huge step toward improving your likability. People who smile are seen as more approachable. "Genuinely think happy thoughts and radiate a positive smile to the world; you will become someone to whom people gravitate," says Errico.
Sure, gossiping may help you fit in with a certain crowd at work, and many people make the mistake of thinking that they’re making friends when they gossip with them. But getting caught up in the company’s rumor mill will most likely have coworkers steering away from you, and, Blank says, will erode the trust that is essential to true likability. People tend to avoid sharing personal information with trash talkers, which means they may not trust you with work-related information that could help you grow in your career.