A topic that has been in the news this past week is popularity in the work place and whether or not it actually exists. Popularity is often associated with high school, so it would be normal to assume it’s something we leave behind at the school gates. However, recent research shows that popularity is still as relevant within the workplace as it once was in high school.

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What the researchers are saying…

Professor Mitch Prinstein of UNC Chapel Hill USA states that popular people are more likely to be hired, promoted or benefit from an increase in salary. Along with the financial benefits, those that are more popular are likely to feel more satisfied at work and therefore happier at home.

Prinstein also states that there are two very different types of popularity in the workplace – status and likeability. Status is based on gaining attention and power, leading to an influence over others whilst likeability is achieved through making others feel valued, included and happy.


Status Vs Likeability

Many businesses tend to reward status with promotions, rewards and titles which can make employees strive towards achieving status. This can be a great thing as it allows goals to be set and achieved, yet according to Prinstein, status can become an obsession that leads people to lack compassion, empathy and take chancing risks.  It can also lead to low self esteem as there’s a risk that status driven individuals may never entirely feel content in the workplace. This has led Prinstein to believe that likeability is the best way to achieve success.

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How To Become More Likeable

The key to becoming more likeable starts with others! Making others feel valued will ultimately increase your likeability.

In Prinstein’s book, ‘Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World’, he outlines 3 simple ways to make others feel valued:

  • Invest in people – this could be through praise or asking them about a goal they have. Showing genuine interest others will allow for a social connection to be made.
  • Be the last one to speak up – if you’re in a meeting, reflect on the points others have made before making your own. This will show you have fully listened to points made by others and show co-workers that they are listened to.
  • Ask questions – take the time to remember one detail about your co-workers lives and ask them about it. This shows you’ve genuinely listened and taken an interest in their life outside of the workplace.

So what do you think about popularity in the workplace? Do you think it even exists? Let us know in the comments section below!

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