It's crazy to think about how many people never stop to consider how their attitude affects their professional growth and will never make the correlation. Why do you think brown nosers so often succeed at getting ahead? They, like no one else, understand the importance of being liked. Now, I am in no way shape or form suggesting that you become a brown noser. If you, like myself take pride in being a genuine person, you'll agree that there is something nearly vomit inducing about watching a co-worker stick their nose so far up a superiors ass that they almost come out with vital organs cemented to their nostrils. What I am saying is that there is a lot of validity to their actions (hence why they continue to behave this way) and as with most things in life, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from your stained nose colleagues.
If I just work really, really hard…
First of all, nobody cares about how hard you work. Okay that's a lie. Well actually it's not a complete lie. Being good at what you do is important but surprise, surprise there are things that are equally important or even more important than slaving away the hours. Lessons I've learned during my trek through the corporate jungle have taught me that those who are well liked and go out of their way to be perceived as such reap the benefits. These are the people who get the coveted projects, accolades and promotions. Period. That's almost always a given, unless you're a total ditz, who really doesn't have the slightest idea what you're doing. In that case, just be thankful you have a job. Clearly your boss has a conscience and would feel horrible letting you go because you're so darn likable.
Leadership will shout from the mountaintop all the livelong day about how much the quality and quantity of your work matters but the truth is, if you're a jerk, bitch or standoffish loner all that stuff is secondary. It's not all their fault though. Generally speaking, the folks in leadership positions don't know they're telling you a bald-face lie. It's more psychological than you think. Human behavior shows us that we like people who like us and conversely dislike people who dislike us. When we're complimented we don't stop to think about ulterior motives. Shoot, we're just happy someone complimented us. “Why yes, yes I am looking especially fabulous in this dress. I thought so when I put it on this morning. Thank you for confirming.” Endorphins are released and we don't even notice the lips on our backside. We're also trusting. We want to believe people's intentions are good. So what may be obvious brown nosing to those on the outside looking in, is just a genuine feel good interaction to the brown nosee. Though working hard and quality work may be important, it’s not the end all be all in your quest for professional growth. Never forget that likeability is extremely important as well.
So how can you make people like you?
Well, you can't, not genuinely I don't think. However, what you can do is make sure that people see you for the likable you that you already are. You have friends (hopefully). They like you don’t they? Your colleagues don’t have to be your friends but try taking some of them out of the “just people I work with” box and putting them in the “pretty cool people” box. Find out if you share common interests. Take some time to chat with people and get to know them. Human beings are vain. We love it when someone takes interest in us. Compliment people. Now please don't go around throwing out compliments like you're on a Mardi Gras float tossing beads to flashers, a la Girls Gone Wild, but if you genuinely like something, by all means compliment away.
Act like you give a damn
Another thing that goes a long way is showing your coworkers and superiors that you actually care (at least a little bit) about things that are important to them. You may not have any interest in birthday cake or the birthday party they're having for Rick in the conference room but at least stop by for a few minutes and wish the guy a happy birthday.
Stop being so damn disagreeable
For crying out loud, everything doesn't have to be an intense debate or a bitchfest. Don't be labeled as the complainer. Different viewpoints are great but no one likes a chronic complainer, Debby Downer or Defensive Deborah (See what I did there?). There are few things more annoying at work than a meeting that should have been over 20 minutes ago but we're all still stuck in here because you've gone all General No-man Schwarzkopf, Jr. over here leading the charge on why the new process will be impossible. Here's a thought: Air your initial concerns, then try out the new process and if you still have concerns, bring them up again but please don't be a jerk or bitch about it.
People like you outside of work. Why not share that likable version of you with your bosses and coworkers? It's easier than you think. I mean what's the worse that can happen; you get promoted? Thanks for reading. Now... Let's make power moves ladies.