Why it Matters to be the “Cool Kid” at Work
While there are significant differences between the popularity gained in high school as opposed to that of the workplace, there are also several similarities in the way others react to popularity, as shown in the many research studies done on the subject throughout the past decade. Most studies have shown that popular children are viewed as better performers and are much more likely to easily make and maintain friendships. Furthermore, in 2009, a study by organizational psychologists at the University of Florida found that popularity also plays a big role in workplace success.
The definition of popularity used within the study was a person who is “accepted by one’s peers” and has been conceptualized as a function of the personality of an employee and the position of that employee within his or her group. Studies of co-workers have also found that they feel popularity is associated with favorable treatment thanks to the rewarding nature of interacting with popular employees. Popular employees are also thought to impact the status of co-workers through association and facilitate cooperation.
Many tips for becoming more popular are relatively painless to implement and can equate in immediate social benefits within the office:
• Take some time to learn about the priorities of co-workers, both personal and professional, and show genuine interest in learning about those things. Most people love to talk, especially about themselves, and the more they share with you the happier he or she will be to be in your company.
• Keep your conversations focused on the other person. By shifting the attention away from yourself and your experiences, you make the other person feel important and interesting. Seek to admire, not to be admired.
• One of the primary traits that is related to popularity is self-confidence. Displaying confidence fosters trust from others and allows other to feel less nervous when talking to you. Though you may be nervous internally, try to portray a natural and relaxed demeanor by avoiding thoughts of how you are being perceived by others.
• While you don’t always have to be the cheerleader or activities organizer, it is helpful to occasionally work to organize fun activities with co-workers outside of work. Most people want to be social and friendly with their co-workers and whoever takes the initiative to create social outings typically gains popularity points from everyone involved.
• Don’t keep your skills and knowledge to yourself. The more you share your expertise, and the more willing you are to help out without expectation of a reward, the more you will be liked and seen as an invaluable resource in the office. People like dependable people who can be turned to during stressful times to help out without making a big to-do.
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