Job Advice: Do You Need to Be Liked at Work to Succeed?

Stressed business people at work.

Stressed business people at work | Liaison

Are you a cranky pants? Then you might have a difficult time when it comes to career advancement. You don’t have to be overly nice to everyone, but it is important to get along with your manager and co-workers. People who aren’t liked at the office don’t usually last long (although, there are exceptions if you happen to know the right people).

If you think being likeable doesn’t matter, think again. It is a key element when it comes to making business deals, getting a promotion, and keeping your job. We tend to trust people we like, and without trust, it’s hard to build lasting relationships, whether personal or professional. Author Rohit Bhargava echoes this message in Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action. “Humans are social creatures. We choose to build relationships and do business with people we know and like. In a world of crowded media, with lots of organizations, politicians, and people competing for our attention, the key to success is your ability to earn trust … Trusted people are more influential and successful,” said Bhargava in his book.

 A bad attitude could cost you a job

Being likable is also important when interviewing for a job. If it comes down to two candidates, a hiring manager is more likely to choose the candidate with a positive attitude. So if you’re normally a Debbie Downer, now is the time to get your attitude in check.

Brad Stultz, human resources coordinator at Totally Promotional, told The Cheat Sheet that a candidate’s attitude can provide a hiring manager with insight into how well he or she would mesh with the team. “When making the final selection between two candidates, the personality and general demeanor of a candidate can be the two factors that push one ahead of the other. These two factors can be a true testament to whether or not an employee will integrate well into the culture of an organization,” said Stultz. 

How to be more likeable

Co-workers talking

Co-workers talking | Thinkstock

When people see you do they run for cover? If you’re not the most cheerful person in the office, you can change that. Before you know it, your co-workers will actually offer you more than a glare in the mornings.

Watch your words

Sometimes it simply comes down to how you talk to people. If you’re normally blunt and careless with your words, practice a kinder, gentler approach. It may take a lot of thought and energy to do this at first, but with time, it will become natural to be nicer to your office mates. So if someone says “good morning,” instead of responding “what’s so good about it?” try saying “good morning” as well. It’s that simple.

Find your sense of humor

Boy laughing

Boy laughing | iStock.com

Life is too short to be so serious all the time. Laugh a little every now and then. If someone at work shares a joke or a funny email, don’t be afraid to let that giggle free. When you share a laugh it will bring you closer together and form team unity. Laughter makes you healthier, too.

Step up to the plate

Young group of people working on laptops

Group of co-workers | iStock.com

This may be the last thing on your to-do list, but try helping a co-worker in need. If you have the time and see a teammate in distress, do your best to offer assistance. However, make sure you don’t overdo it. A recent study found that helping co-workers could negatively impact your mental health if you don’t learn how to pace yourself. So lend a hand, but make sure your tasks are done first.

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