3 Ways to Be More Likeable at Work

It’s not always the smartest person who does the best—sometimes it’s the person that brings out the best in others.
November 3, 2015

You know those people, the ones who are proficient at their job but, if you’re being completely honest, are no rock stars. Yet, somehow, they always seem to get promoted—and it irks you because you know you’re better at the job than they are.

Here’s the thing. Just as we do not buy products rationally, we do not buy people rationally, either. We buy (and promote) people emotionally. Which means the game we are playing in the workplace (and in many other aspects of life) is not just a proficiency one. It is not wrong; it is simply human nature, a primal need for connection that drives us.

We gravitate toward things and people that make us feel good—we are chemically wired to. We are all addicts chasing feel-good endorphins. People that make us feel good make us want more of that feeling, and that is why they often get ahead.

This makes being likeable a powerful skill, one that we all need to develop in the workplace. So here are some tips to improve your likeability:

1. Listen more.

Listening is like a superpower, and people who are likeable tend to intuitively understand this. They make time to listen to what others have to say. Take the best salespeople. They do not do that much talking; they do a lot of listening. And you may not think you are in sales, but you are—we all are. If you are trying to get people to work with you, see things from your point of view or help you get done whatever it is you need doing, you are selling. The sale is always in the prospect, so spend time getting to know what it is they want and how you can help them get it.

2. Ask more.

This is perhaps the best human engagement tool ever, the magic question, What do you think? Four simple words that can change everything. Asking other people their opinion on the things you are working on and listening to their answer (see the previous tip) is a great way to increase your likeability at work. At the end of the day, it is about making other people feel valuable, that they make a difference.

3. Acknowledge more.

Do not underestimate the power of acknowledgement. A compliment (that you mean, not that you fake), a thank you or a job well done can increase your likability instantly. It sounds so simple, and yet we often get too busy to remember to notice the things other people do. Make a point of stopping to think about the people that help you every day and taking time to circle back to them to say thanks.

Being likeable might not be something you can earn a degree in, but it certainly is something that can get you ahead in the workplace. Understand that the job you do is not just about the results you deliver, but the way you make other people feel who work with you along the way.

Charisma makes you likeable, too. Learn the 7 qualities of the most charming people to find out if you have it.

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