Friday, December 6, 2013

Why it Pays to Be More Popular at Work

Does any of this sound familiar?
  • You have to introduce yourself to the security guard every day to gain entrance to your office, and you’ve worked at the company for three years.
  • At last year’s holiday gathering, the office manager mistakenly thought you were the Federal Express driver and handed you two packages instead of a glass of wine.
  • You were out sick for nearly a week before anyone noticed you were gone.
Such treatment may frustrate you, or you may care less. But unless you’ve been wearing Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility, you need to be concerned with such a lack of popularity.
While being unpopular in school may not have mattered to you, being unpopular at work can mean you earn less money, aren’t considered for promotions and may be thought of only when the company is putting together a layoff list.
Toiling in obscurity may seem ideal to you, but it can be devastating to your career. It also can lead to less satisfaction at work, as research shows that strong social connections on the job can improve productivity, make you more passionate about what you do and less likely to quit your job. A Gallup Organization survey found that having close friendships at work can boost employee satisfaction by as much as 50%.
So how do you boost your popularity at work? Think about:
  • Listening better. When was the last time you had a conversation with someone who wasn’t tapping away on a smartphone, glancing at email or appearing distracted? If you offer your undivided attention to someone, you convey the message that you think they’re important.  If you become a good sounding board, others are more likely to seek you out more often.
  • Using good manners.  Teenager Maya Van Wagenen was new to her Brownsville, Texas , school and wanted to be more popular. So using a 1950s etiquette book called “Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide,” Van Wagenen began to follow advice such as being yourself, not putting on “airs” and treating everyone with the same kindness.  The advice not only helped the teen become more popular, but the chronicling of her efforts garnered her a $300,000 book deal. DreamWorks has optioned movie rights to the book. If being nice and polite can make a teenager popular and successful, why not you?
  • Offering compliments.  Compliments are a great way to make others feel good about themselves, and that can help them feel good about you. Just be careful of what you choose to compliment. For example, “You look sexy in that sweater” isn’t (read more here)

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