How to Be More Likeable at Work

how to be more likeable

In the office, as in life, it’s easy to become so focused on one thing — your work and all the pleasures and frustrations that come with it — that you forget to focus on pretty much anything, or anyone, else.

But this is exactly what the most likable people do.

They transcend the chaos of the workplace.

They’re warm, interesting, funny and engaging.

If this doesn’t sound like you, take heart — and consider employing these five traits.

1. Mindfulness

How many times have you had a conversation with anyone — a friend, a coworker, or an acquaintance — and found yourself or the other person distracted? Maybe you felt inclined to check your phone every time it buzzed, or you sat and spoke your mind while the other person gazed at a computer screen.

It’s happened to all of us, and it doesn’t feel good. How present are you in conversations, meetings or presentations? When you’re not present, you can’t fully engage, acknowledge, empathize or respond. Everything is automated.

Next time you find yourself in a conversation, take a moment. Put down your phone, step away from your inner monologue and listen. Your presence will be acknowledged and appreciated.

2. Authenticity

Working in advertising, I understand that people want to sell you on stuff. Not just advertisers, though — pretty much everyone.

Sometimes our desire to be viewed in a certain light (as powerful, for example) sends us down a shady path, one in which we repress our real selves in order to perpetrate a false or idealized identity.

If you often find yourself hiding what you really feel or think, or you’re claiming to have it all together when you really don’t, then you might know what I mean by not being your authentic self.

Authenticity is a highly underrated trait in and out of the office. We often think being ourselves will scare or drive people away, but it’s inauthenticity that’s most damaging. This doesn’t mean you need to express every thought that passes through your mind — it just means expressing yourself in a way that is true for you, whenever it feels right.

The best part about authenticity is it encourages acceptance; make room for you to be you, and you’ll find yourself making room for your coworkers to be themselves too.

3. Generosity

We’re all self-motivated creatures, especially at work, but the most likeable folks you know are generous with their time, money, attention and ability.

This doesn’t mean they give every bit of themselves away; the most likeable and generous among us also know their boundaries.

But they’re not secretive or selfish. They’ll set time aside to help you with a project or participate in an event outside of work. They’ll talk with you and provide helpful feedback.

Generous employees don’t just care about their advancement but the advancement of their team as a whole.

4. Curiosity

Sometimes when talking to coworkers, acquaintances and strangers, it can seem like curiosity is a currency few of us use anymore. Often, people just want to be heard.

You know what I’m talking about: You engage in conversation with a coworker or acquaintance, and even as you’re speaking you know they’re just waiting until it’s their turn to talk.

Curiosity cultivates questioning, real interest, and the desire to learn for learning’s sake. It requires presence.

It also propels you into engaging, meaningful conversations, and as-of-yet-unexplored parts of your business. Next time you find yourself dully nodding your head as someone talks or going about your normal routine at work, tap into your curiosity. What does it have to say?

5. Positivity

We all love a whiner, don’t we? A complainer? That guy three desks down who loves to sigh audibly?

No. No, we don’t love any of that. No one does.

This is default behavior for many of us because it’s so easy; it’s so much easier to complain than to look on the bright side of a situation at work, much less fix it.

Likeability, above all else, requires that everything is encompassed in a positive attitude. An authentically positive attitude is one that transcends disappointments, frustration, and mix-ups, and instead doles out compliments, encouragement and support. Positivity is that part of you that sees the light in every situation.

Because easy and fun as it is to grumble, the most likeable among us know there is always an upside, if only we take a moment to find it.

What traits do you find in the most likeable people you work with? Let us know in the comments.

(Photo by Rasmus Andersson / CC BY)

Andrea Fisher is a writer and content specialist for Renters Alarm Company. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider. Follow her on Twitter or Google+.


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