Page Updated on February 14, 2023
When we talk about being liked and appreciated at work, it does not mean to suggest that we should be anyone other than our true selves to gain popularity. You do not have to create some fake persona in order to win friends at work. Being liked and appreciated at work though has many benefits, so how can you be liked even more at work?
Benefits of Being Liked at Work
As we will discuss below, doing things such as learning to become a better listener and developing a stronger sense of empathy for others can immediately help you to become better liked.
But why is it important, if at all, to be liked at work? Does it really matter? The benefits include:
- Making more natural friendships – and making you generally happier at work
- The sense of feeling a part of a group and a sense of belonging
- Better career opportunities – because you are seen as helpful and someone others want to work with and as someone who could manage others well.
- Improved mental health – as being appreciated at work helps us feel more relaxed and generally happier
Techniques to Be Liked More at Work
There are a number of ways in which you can be natural and your true self, whilst also improving your likeability at work. Here are some techniques worth considering below:
1. Learn to Be a Better Listener
It is incredible how few of us are really good at listening and we all make this mistake.
It is just so tempting to focus on saying what we want to say, rather than REALLY paying attention to the other person and what they are saying.
Listening skills are an essential skill set to have and, given how few of us are good at it, you can really begin to influence and win favor with colleagues by focusing on learning to listen.
Give it a go next time you chat with someone. Intentionally focus on exactly what they are saying and do not worry about what your next words are.
People who are listened to tend to feel that the listener values what they are saying and their opinion!
Actively listening also helps to reduce the number of misunderstandings that otherwise happen in the workplace, and fewer confrontations and issues that you are involved with will mean great likeability.
2. Show and Have Empathy with Your Colleagues
Building on the idea of learning to better listen to colleagues, another way to further develop likeability, and to become more appreciated yourself, is to learn how to better show empathy.
Empathy is the ability to show compassion and understanding to others. Often, even when we do care, we sometimes do not come across as though we do because, as discussed earlier, we do not appear to listen to others well enough, often enough.
Furthermore, we sometimes are not aware of our own body language and non-verbal communication.
To show better empathy:
- Take the time to ask others how they are.
- Without over-probing ask follow-up questions in the future such as how they are doing regards something that was bothering them or that they were trying to overcome.
- Consider doing a course on body language and non-verbal communication.
- Try and genuinely put yourself in the mind of others. You do not have to take on their issues but just try and understand why others feel the way they sometimes do.
To give an example regards the last bullet point and putting ourselves in the mind of others:
- Imagine that a colleague has started to be grumpy at work the last few days. As it turns out they have good reasons. They are a carer for a partner at home and they might be struggling to cope with trying to be a full-time carer and do a full-time job. The person does not mean to be grumpy but they are simply struggling and if anything, they could really do with the support of others.
3. Find Common Interests That You Share with Colleagues
It can also be a great idea to actively seek out commonalities that you have with colleagues.
We have far more in common with many colleagues than we ever come to realize because we never seek to find out what these commonalities are.
It might be, for example, that:
- Jane on reception is also an avid table tennis player just like you.
- Peter in your team who is the marketing assistant and works from home also loves Greece and travels there every year, as you do.
- Jean, whom you work with every day, is also a ballroom dancer just like you but it’s never come up in conversation.
4. Be Inclusive (Especially as a Manager)
It will not only make you more popular, being an inclusive manager, but it is very much the RIGHT thing to do anyway and the right way to manage.
Being an ‘Inclusive Manager’ means being someone who treats all colleagues and people you manage equally and that you include them fairly, such as in opportunities for promotion and when it comes to delegating tasks.
We all have natural biases based on our upbringing, where we are brought up, our interests and hobbies, and so on. It is essential though when we deal with others, to be fair and inclusive.
5. Learn People’s Names and Use Them
Once you know a person’s name, it is a great idea to use their name sometimes when talking to them.
Whether we consciously realize it or not, we all tend to like hearing our own name as it makes things more personable and it shows a level of interest when someone uses your name.
For example, you see Jennifer at the water cooler. Instead of just saying ‘Hi, how’s it going today’. Why not say ‘Hi Jennifer, how’s it going today’.
There are many such opportunities to personalize interactions more in the workplace and to make more of a positive impression.
Just don’t overdo it though!
6. Be Trustworthy
Trust is so incredibly important in the workplace and being someone whom others feel that they can trust, is a fantastic way to be better liked and appreciated at work.
Trust is a topic on its own. Suffice it to say, for now, that some things you can focus on to build trust are:
- Do not hoard information unnecessarily
- Be consistent, i.e. keep to your word
- Be honest with others at work
If you are a manager, you might also want to read these 7 tips below on how to build trust in the workplace as a manager.
7. Be Humble but Helpful
No one particularly likes the person in the office who knows it all and who makes sure that everyone else realizes it!
Whatever knowledge you have, others will naturally become aware of it over time, if you work hard and are diligent in your work.
With the knowledge and experience you do have, be willing to share it and help others (without expecting something in return).
You will get something in return because you will become someone others like and you’ll be seen as helpful and kind.
So why not practice humility and being humble?
8. Like Yourself First
When we love ourselves it is naturally much easier for others to then to also like us, and that includes in the workplace.
When we lack confidence, dislike ourselves, and are generally moody and less fun to be around, how can we expect others to gravitate toward us?
If you lack confidence or just do not like yourself, here is a good article by VeryWellMind.com about how to build your confidence.
9. Avoid Being a Gossip
One of the easiest and fastest ways to become disliked at work and to gain a bad reputation as someone not to be trusted is to get involved with office gossip.
My advice is to avoid gossip like the plague.
There is always something more positive to do when chatting with others, such as point 3 in this list where we talked about finding common interests with your colleagues.
Why not focus on positive things and avoid gossiping, something we ourselves often do not like to be on the wrong end of?
10. Do Your Own Job Well
Whilst gossip is one of the easiest ways to become disliked, gaining a reputation as someone who works hard and is diligent and caring about what they do is one of the easiest ways to gather positive attention and to become more likable.
This does not mean that you have to overwork or do more than you should.
But, if you show a keenness to learn and be efficient and good at what you do, is hard for others not to respect and like you for it.
Valeria has been involved with education for over 16 years. She has taught in the UK at the University of Bath and Cardiff Metropolitan University (where she got her PhD), in addition to working as a researcher at Exeter University. Valeria additionally has several years of experience of also working with Ofsted and Cardiff University in management roles & is she is the founder of Symonds Training.