Success at work; Be Likable! Work less!

When I was growing up I was taught that if you want to be good at something, work hard.  If your did your best and worked your hardest, you could learn anything and become a success. I did those things, and found out that this advice was actually wrong.

It took me a number of years in the workplace to realize, that it’s  more important to be likable than to do a good job!  Shocking!  I thought it would be enough to just work hard and be good at what I did!  Not true!  When opportunities for promotion arise, it’s the relationships with your co-workers that probably end up counting more  or at least as much as your performance!  It wasn’t until I realized I had to spend almost at least as much time cultivating work relationships as doing my job that I found true job success.  And I was somewhat resentful of this at first too!  Spending time socializing with my co-workers wasted alot of time I could be working or having fun elsewhere, but not spending that time caused alot of frustrations when it was time to promote a new idea or a change in policy or procedure. Because if people don’t like you, they won’t listen to what you say.  When people like you, they root for you and they root for your success too, and it makes them happy to help you.   Many people like Donald Trump, so it doesn’t matter to them that he has absolutely no idea how to be tactful or run a government.  They like him so they will vote for him.  They want him to succeed.  When people don’t like you, they get pleasure in watching you fail or struggle, and that’s going to interfere with you achieving your goals.

When I lectured in class, I read the evaluations and worked harder and harder to prepare better class presentations.  Then I watched other people who did presentations.  I noticed something similar in that setting as well. It was more important to engage the audience and make them like you and enjoy the presentation rather that be the expert presenting all the recent research and information.  It actually worked better if less were taught!  All the effort I was making to ensure I had the best and most accurate and detailed up to the minute medical information was not actually what people responded to.  They didn’t want to be impressed by my knowledge.  They wanted to learn something but receive that information in a way that was interesting and made them think.  I got better responses focusing on engaging them with stories or photos, and by picking a few important points for them to learn.

I told this to one of my younger patients recently, and he was shocked.  He also had focused too much on mastery of his craft and not enough in his relationships with his bosses and so had many problematic issues in his jobs.  He also needed to work less and consider those social graces to be just as important in order for him to be successful in his work.  This is the challenge for those home schooling their children or going to online schools.  It is the connections we have to others that actually ensures our life success. Without successful interaction with others, you can be the smartest person in the universe but no one else will ever acknowledge it because if you can’t interact successfully with others, no one will ever know it.  If this is something that is a challenge to you, then spend as much time working on your social skills as you have mastering the other skills and knowledge you have.  Because it may be even more important to your  life success.

Success at work; Be Likable! Work less!

2 thoughts on “Success at work; Be Likable! Work less!

  1. Shelley says:

    Excellent advise, and not something that is intuitively obvious. Unfortunately, sometimes ALL a person has to offer is his personality, with no substance behind it. Those people often get ahead based solely on that, which truly can be frustrating and puzzling. It’s hard to understand why others don’t see through that facade. When in that situation, the hope is that eventually they will be discovered. In the meantime, the challenge is to not allow that reality to impact us and the choices we make.


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