Back in 2011, acclaimed gerontologist Professor Karl Pillemer published 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, the result of a ground-breaking research project in which he asked 1000+ older people what they had learned about life. These ‘experts’ shared practical tips and advice on how to make the most out of life and be happy.
One very interesting theme emerged. In order to be happy at work and succeed, you have to have good interpersonal skills. Apparently, it doesn’t matter how talented you are or how brilliant, you won’t succeed if you can’t get along with people.
For a long time, getting along with people wasn’t high on the ‘how to be successful at work’ agenda, but times have changed.
We’ve moved from status to fulfilled, from power-hungry to happy. Now we prize work that has meaning and covet the chance to make a difference.
Being nice to people might sound tame or dull or even silly. It might sound hard given our apparent low tolerance for others and their ways, but being able to get along with people is critical at work.
Being nice to people is at the heart of business because it’s communication (with people) and relationships (with people) that get things done.
There are very few jobs or professions that don’t require you to communicate with others and most work involves collaboration and interaction with different kinds of people.
You don’t have to suck up or be false. You don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to feign interest or even actually like someone. You don’t have to be anyone other than yourself. But you do need to listen and use your emotional intelligence to build connections with others.
And it works both ways. Being nice is reciprocal. If you’re nice to people, most often they’ll be nice back. Not always, I accept that, but put enough good out there then some good will come back.
Being nice to people is how you get things done. And getting things done, moving forward, seeing results and being productive is what makes us feel happy at work.
If you’d like to be happier at work, are struggling to be nice to people or have a situation you’d like help with, then why not get in touch for a session of Career Therapy?