How to be more liked at work

Popular people are more successful

Three Business Colleagues Having Discussion Whilst Walking Outside OfficeYou may think that all you need to do at work is just get on with your job in a professional way - and that if you do, you'll automatically do well in your career.

However, we're all human, and research has shown that the people that tend to get ahead are those who are liked by their colleagues. So often, career progression is all about having the right contacts, and if you're incapable of building good relationships with those around you, you're at a disadvantage right from the start.

"A dissonant relationship with one's boss is downright painful. So too are bad relationships with colleagues," says Annie McKee, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, who has researched happiness at work.

"Leaders, managers, and employees have all told us that close, trusting and supportive relationships are hugely important to their state of mind — and their willingness to contribute to a team."

So how can you make sure your colleagues like you?

New research from job site CV-Library has revealed that the most important way to ramp up your likeability at work is to have a positive attitude - after all, nobody likes a moaner. Being approachable and having a sense of humour are vital too.

Meanwhile, the biggest turn-offs in the workplace are people who are arrogant, lazy or patronising - and these people don't tend to get ahead.

There are, to a certain extent, exceptions. Salespeople, for example, often thrive on competition, rather than collaboration. Many people effectively work alone, which means that social interactions become less important.

Even in these circumstances, though, most people agree that it's possible to be competitive and assertive while still being likeable.

However, the research also shows that there's no advantage in sucking up to the boss.

"Remaining true to yourself is key, especially as certain attributes will likely have landed you the job in the first place," says Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library.

Six in ten people say it's important to remain assertive, and nearly three quarters think that it won't do your career any good to be seen being too nice to your manager.

"It's only natural to want to be liked, especially at work when you're dealing with a variety of people. But, it's important not to get too caught up with the office politics," says Biggins.

"Instead, try and figure out the right balance that will help you to move forward with your career and ultimately, be respected by colleagues and senior management alike."

And what if you are the boss?

The usual rule seems to be that you should remain on friendly terms with your staff, but always keep a little distance to make sure they remember who's in charge.

However, research carried out by Harvard Business School's Amy Cuddy has shown that bosses who project warmth are both more trusted and more effective than those who display their toughness and skill.

Unfortunately, though, while being liked may get you that promotion, it probably won't get you a pay rise to go with it - at least, not if you're a man. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana have found that while being agreeable doesn't affect a woman's salary, it actually has a negative effect on a man's pay.

"Disagreeable men reap a double benefit. Their disagreeableness helps them better translate their human capital into earnings advantage, and the same behaviour conforms to expectations of 'masculine' behaviour," the authors write.

"By the same token, agreeable men are disproportionately disadvantaged because their agreeableness conflicts with social norms of masculinity."

Sometimes, it seems, nice guys really do finish last.

The Top 10 Personality Traits Which Make A Person More Likeable At Work

1. Positivity (61.8%)
2. Being Approachable (40.8%)
3. Sense of Humour (39.8%)
4. Open Mindedness (31%)
5. Honest (23.7%)
6. Compassionate (20.6%)
7. Confident (19%)
8. Motivating (18.8%)
9. Enthusiastic (16.5%)
10. Patient (8.5%)

The Top 10 Personality Traits Which Make A Person Less Likeable At Work

1. Arrogant (55.7%)
2. Lazy (47.8%)
3. Patronising (24.8%)
4. Controlling (24.5%)
5. Vulgar (19.8%)
6. Gossipy (17.6%)
7. Distracting (16%)
8. Cynical (15.4%)
9. Narrow-minded (15.3%)
10. Procrastinator (13.6%)

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