“Be nice to the nerds. Chances are you’ll land up working for one,” Bill Gates famously said. Most people think they can stop worrying about petty popularity when they start working, as it turns out you can’t.
In his book, Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World, John Van Seters Distinguished Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mitch Prinstein tells a different story.
According to Prinstein writing for the BBC, “People who are well-liked are more likely than their equally-qualified counterparts to be hired, promoted, and even earn higher salaries.”
However, Prinstein warns there is a big difference in likeability which is based on a person’s ability to make the people around them feel valued and raising ones popularity through status which is based on attention and power. These will have an opposite effect on how people feel and perceive you.
Prinstein who teaches a course and has done decades of research on popularity offers these tips on how to be more likeable at work.
1. Invest your time in people
By being genuinely interested in your colleagues and their lives. Praise your co-workers, learn about their goals and offer your time to them. This will make you more socially connected to the people around you which creates a relationship, fosters loyalty and in turn an investment from them emotionally in you.
By making sure the people around you feel heard and that you value their opinions. Reflect on what other people are saying and make them feel like their comments have shaped your thinking and their contributions are taken seriously. This will make it easier to get your colleagues to buy-in because they feel like they are collaborating instead of taking orders.
Remember something about your co-worker’s lives and ask them about it every so often, will make them feel valued. This act of taking time to find out how they are feeling goes a long way to gaining trust, building relationships and making people feel important.