10 Qualities All Beloved Colleagues Share
Rick’s manager called him into her office to give him his third raise in two years.
Surprised, Rick reminded her that it’s only been six months since his last pay increase.
“I know, Rick,” she said, “but based on your colleagues’ feedback and my own observations, you deserve another. Here’s why…”
1. “You’re genuinely interested in others.”
In 1937, Dale Carnegie published How to Win Friends and Influence People, which has since sold more than 30 million copies.
It’s one of the wisest business books ever written, and here is one of its truest quotes:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
And how does one become interested in others? By asking questions.
People are generally talkative. We’re especially vocal when it comes to ourselves: Our jobs, our kids, our vacations, our troubles. To create connections, ask questions that give colleagues something to talk about.
Want to read How to Win Friends and Influence People? Here’s a free pdf.
2. “You answer questions clearly, thoughtfully, and briefly.”
While people love talking, we hate listening to others talk. It’s a strangely perfect conundrum.
“The most satisfying answers are clear, thoughtful, and brief.”
In any case, we seem to be most satisfied when our questions are answered with a combination of clarity, thoughtfulness and, most importantly brevity. Don’t use three words if one will do.
3. “You appear eager to help.”
Questions at work can be distracting—and most people don’t like being taken out of their job to help someone else do theirs.
Well-liked people, however, are good at appearing to be restless with enthusiasm when asked for help.
4. “You’re flexible.”
Rigid things snap under pressure.
Great colleagues have some bend to them, some flexibility. They’re not married to their routine or their schedule. They don’t necessarily have a normal. If they’re asked to work an hour later or swap a shift or take on an extra project, they can do it.
5. “You show up outside of work.”
Time spent with colleagues outside of work—whether it’s a scheduled team dinner or an impromptu happy hour—is not wasted time.
Out-of-work socializing helps us create new relationships while developing those that already exist. Those relationships, then, lead to new opportunities.
So go ahead, grab that drink, eat that dinner. You’ll be a happier employee for it.
6. “You’re generally positive.”
Positivity is contagious. Smiles beget more smiles. Compliments beget more compliments.
People are naturally drawn to enthusiasm and happiness, to cheer. In fact, these emotions give us energy. At work, they motivate us to tackle the next task, the next meeting.
Negativity, conversely, drains people, robbing them of their ardor.
7. “You don’t gossip.”
Anthropologists know that gossiping is a completely natural function, a bonding mechanism etched into the human psyche.
“Self-control and social awareness are key to maintaining comfort and productivity at work.”
Unfortunately, gossip can also hurt people, destroying bonds, which is a bad thing to do at work (even if it’s technically deserved). Work is a diplomatic place where self-control and social awareness are key to maintaining comfort and productivity.
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8. “You’re competent.”
The better someone is at their job, the easier work will be for everyone else on their team. Unless your responsibilities are completely siloed, colleagues will feel your impact.
Most people, of course, aren’t incompetent upon being hired. They fall into that state—especially Knowledge Workers—after periods of stagnation, of comfort, of doing things the way they’ve always been done…
Employees who challenge themselves to consistently evolve are those that remain dynamic throughout their careers. Excelsior.
9. “You’re on-time.”
Punctuality is a rule of civility. It’s rude to be late.
Not only that, but consistently late colleagues are seen as selfish, mainly because their chronic tardiness screams, Your time doesn’t matter to me.
“Chronic tardiness screams, Your time doesn’t matter to me.”
On the other hand, always being on-time to shifts or meetings or events says, I’m accountable. Colleagues respect that.
10. “You’re appreciative.”
It’s innately human to want to be recognized and valued by peers. Feeling appreciated reminds people that what they’re doing is meaningful and important, which is deeply satisfying.
Giving validation can also create connections, the way warm pie for the new neighbors can. It nourishes in more ways than one.
Be like Rick.
Make more money.