Checklist: Are You Likeable at Work?

3 min read
Jan 30, 2017

workplace checklist

Of course, you can’t make other people like you — such as those you interact with at work — and there are times you may wonder how well you’re going over. Maybe you’re new at a company, or maybe you just get the feeling you’re on the outside looking in. Here’s a checklist put together by Áine Cain writing for Business Insider for you to go through to see if you exhibit the traits that make a person likeable to the people they work with.


You’re Genuine

Being honest and authentic goes a long way with people. It builds trust. When you’re aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, and not obsessed with either, you keep it real and it’s easy and comfortable for others to be around you since they can let down their guard a bit and be themselves too.


You Ask Others for Favors

This is a curious one because it seems backwards. Ben Franklin once wrote, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” Franklin, a shrewd character, figured out this trick when he was looking for a way to turn an enemy into a friend.

According to author David McRaney, “Franklin sent a letter to the hater asking if he could borrow a specific selection from his library, one that was a ‘very scarce and curious book.’ The rival, flattered, sent it right away. Franklin said the man “ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.”

You would think we do favors for people we like, but it turns out the opposite is just as true: we like people we do favors for.


You Mirror Others’ Gestures

Subtly imitating the body language of someone you’re talking to produces what psychologists refer to as the chameleon effect. On some nearly subliminal level, it’s an effective bonding mechanism so long as you don’t do it so much that it becomes noticeable (and weird) to the other person. A major study on the chameleon effect was done in 1999, and researchers did confirm that people like others more who mirror their body language.


You Give Credible Compliments

When you compliment someone and really mean it — hmm, see #1 above — it makes that other person feel more friendly toward you. If you’re really impressed by someone, they’ll be flattered and maybe even impressed by your astuteness.

The key is to be judicious with the kudos, since an unending stream of undeserved compliments is worse than ineffective — it’s annoying.

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You Don’t Grandstand

“Go big or go home” is not good advice for building friendships. It’s better to be present, so they know you’re there, but not go out of your way to hog the spotlight. Being positive and genuinely interested in others’ successes is what a friend is.


You Know Everyone’s Names

We’ve all known someone in a company that calls everyone by some nickname to avoid actually learning their names. Once you catch on, it feels insulting. You’ll score points, on the other hand, by knowing others’ actual names and by using them in conversation.


You Invite People to Tell You About Themselves

When you ask (nonintrusive) questions about someone’s life, you’re conveying two important, endearing traits: you’re interested in the other person, and you’re not all wrapped up in yourself. A well-placed question also gets a person to open up and think of you as someone they like talking to. After all, they say most people enjoy talking about themselves more than anything else.

If you’re doing all of these things, you’re being a great coworker, and it’s likely you’re well regarded by those around you. Certainly, you deserve to be!



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