Eighty percent of your day is spent at work. Whether you commute to an office or work from home to a huge degree your professional success depends on your likability. Think about all your professional interactions; you work on team projects, collaborate on conference calls, sit in meetings, talk to clients, etc. These and more are situations that require your ability to be liked. However, it’s not a popularity contest. Being liked doesn’t mean you give up your professional integrity.
As social animals, it's natural that we want to be liked and respected. And being liked in the workplace is a significant factor in professional success. But being likable doesn't come naturally to everyone. Here are 11 techniques for increasing your likability and respectability in the workplace.
Ditch the Hi, use the name
First, as humans we like to hear our own name. This is why calling people by name is essential to your likability factor. Using a person's name makes them feel special and shows your interest in them as a person. You can start by simply using a team member's name during something as routine as greeting them. Using their name instead of a generic "hi" creates a sense of connection.
Be Kind and helpful
Next, be kind and, whenever possible, offer others a helping hand. Being kind means listening without judging, showing compassion without expecting anything in return, and offering help when it's appropriate to do so. When opportunity presents, offer to help team members and other coworkers. It demonstrates not just a commitment to being productive, but also to working collaboratively as a team. If you have an hour between meetings and a coworker is facing a tight deadline, ask if you can help. And this works both ways.
Ask for help
Asking for help from a colleague is a form of showing respect and increases your likability factor. Who doesn't feel great when their experience and skills are called upon? It demonstrates a respect for their expertise. Asking for help builds comradery and reinforces the notion of a team of coworkers as a cohesive unit, rather than a set of discreet individuals.
It's important to avoid gossip. Should you find yourself among gossipers, don't participate. Instead, attempt to change the conversation topic. Ask about people's projects, recent vacations, hobbies, or families. If all else fails, politely excuse yourself. Regarding gossip, even listening silently is essentially participating.
Don’t miss deadlines
Work to never be late or miss a deadline. This gains you a reputation for being reliable and dependable. Take advantage of applications that allow you to track due dates for assignments and project milestones and set reminders to ensure you meet those deadlines. Reliable, dependable, people get things done. And this, in turn, earns respect from others. Along those lines, it's important and respectful, to do what you say you're going to do and to not make promises you can't keep. This gains you respect, and it establishes your reputation as someone who follows through. It reinforces your credibility, trust, and reliability.
Treat others with respect
People respect those that come through for them, personally and professionally. And while the respect of others is important, it's part of a two way street. To maintain their respect, you must treat others with respect, as well. And this is not limited to management or those who can directly advance your career. It includes everyone, regardless of their role or position in the organization. Showing respect makes others want to work with you.
Be Honest and stick to work ethics
Finally, gaining respect requires honesty. In particular it requires that you own up to your mistakes. Nobody is perfect and admitting to a mistake shows both humility and confidence. You don't need to dwell on the error or beg for forgiveness, but rather treat it seriously as a matter of fact and then follow up by doing whatever you can to rectify the situation and ensure it doesn't happen again.
Being mistaken happens to everyone. Handling it maturely and professionally without becoming defensive or attempting to deflect blame earns the respect of coworkers and being respected in the workplace is just as important as being liked. You can be both.
Give credit where it's due
Give credit where it's due. People crave recognition. For example, if you are the lead on a successful project, you likely relied on others to achieve those results. And it's important to recognize team members whose work enabled that success. Taking the time to acknowledge the contributions of others will be appreciated, and that simple action can come back to you in many positive ways. Those same team members will be inclined to step up on future projects or return the favor.
Learn to politely disagree
When disagreeing with colleagues, it's important to show respect for their ideas and thought processes, even when you believe they've come to faulty or mistaken conclusions. Using phrases like, "have you considered...", or, "how about if we...", or "my experience is...," allows for differences of opinion without implying someone is wrong. It's important to encourage different perspectives and the free exchange of ideas to facilitate further discussion.
Don’t let technology be a liability
Emailing, texting, and tweeting while in meetings sends the signal that you're not listening and don't consider what is being said important. Not only is this behavior disrespectful, it earns the reputation that the phone is more important than the job. Save tweeting and texting for break time or after work. Using tech-etiquette means being judicious when using your cell phone even when you're around friendly coworkers.
Avoid social media opinions
Making disparaging or discriminatory comments related to race, religion, and gender and the like, may lead to termination or even end your career. And it is extremely bad form to bad-mouth current or previous employers or employees. Here the adage "If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything at all" should be adhered to.
Remember that a large part of your professional success depends on being liked and respected in the workplace. Although these may seem simple in theory, putting them into practice requires practice and skill.