You may have thought popularity contests ended after high school. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. While you may not be vying for prom queen or class president, being well liked is still important, especially in the workplace.
Think about it: If two designers ask for your assistance at the same time—one who’s a joy to work with and another who makes The Office’s Dwight Schrute look like a model colleague—who are you more likely to help?
The good news is that, unlike high school, popularity at work doesn’t hinge on how many sport teams you’re on or what car you drive (let’s hope). Rather, it’s the subtle things you do on a day-to-day basis that will influence your relationships with colleagues. Here are 10 simple ways to build good karma on the job:
1. Listen. During team meetings and brainstorming sessions, show respect for others’ ideas and opinions. Even if you think you have an award-winning thought, it’s important to acknowledge what your co-workers have to say. You might be able to build on their ideas to develop a solution superior to the one you devised on your own.
2. Be friendly. People want to work with those they like. Smiling and greeting co-workers you pass in the halls are easy ways to project a friendly and positive attitude. Other small actions, like opening the door and holding the elevator for colleagues, also can go a long way. Take a sincere interest in other people’s lives—by remembering birthdays and other important personal details and events—to further build camaraderie.
3. Meet deadlines. Colleagues will stop trusting you if you miss deadlines, so always strive to turn projects in on time. If you know you’re not going to meet an agreed upon due date, let co-workers know well in advance so they don’t have to scramble at the last minute.
4. Help out. If you observe that a co-worker is overwhelmed with work, and you have extra time, offer to give him or her a hand. Your colleague is likely to remember your gesture the next time you need assistance.
5. Volunteer for an unwanted project. Stepping up when everyone else is stepping back to avoid an unwanted assignment is a great way to develop a reputation as a team player. You also may build new skills in the process and impress your supervisor with your can-do spirit.
6. Don’t leave a mess. No one enjoys working with a slob, so clean up after yourself in the break room and pull jammed paper from the copier if it stops working on your watch. If you can’t fix equipment you’ve broken, report the problem to someone who can.
7. Forgive and forget. If a colleague seems distracted during conversations or snaps at you for a minor mistake, try not to take it personally. Everyone has “off” days or moments when stress gets the best of them. Unless a co-worker is habitually rude, shake off the slight.
8. Admit when you’ve made a mistake. Few things are more damaging to a workplace relationship than not admitting to your mistakes (except trying to pass the blame onto someone else, of course). If you slip up, admit it, apologize for the error and quickly come up with a solution to the problem. By taking immediate responsibility, you’ll earn your co-workers’ respect and trust.
9. Remember the Golden Rule. If you work in an open environment, be respectful of colleagues who sit nearby. Avoid using a speakerphone, letting your unattended cell phone ring at maximum volume or eating smelly foods at your desk. Always think about how you’d like others to act in your presence and adjust your behavior accordingly.
10. Recognize people’s efforts. When a co-worker helps you out or makes your job easier, say thanks. If his or her efforts were outstanding, let the person’s manager know. Your colleagues will be much more likely to assist you on your next project if you made them feel good about their work on the last one.
The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing advertising, marketing, creative and web professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at www.creativegroup.com. Follow The Creative Group at facebook.com/thecreativegroup or twitter.com/creativegroup.
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