Work isn’t a popularity contest, but most of us want to be around people on the job that we like—and who like us back. Experts warn that many of us may be inadvertently undermining those relationships. “Those little annoyances, like having a really sloppy work area or being a disgusting desk eater, can loom large,” says Charles Purdy, senior editor at Monster.com. Here are some of the most common offenders.
• Sucking up to the boss. The boss’s pet who ingratiates himself at the expense of his co-workers incites negative judgments, said Meredith Haberfeld, a New York-based executive and career coach. “At a certain point, to go further in your career you need to not just be liked by your boss, you need support from your peers and people more junior.”
• Negativity. The occasional bit of gossip can relieve stress, but too much can make you look bad. “Sometimes it’s fun to talk about the boss, but the person who is always complaining is widely disliked as well,” Purdy says. “Toxic negativity makes people feel like you are not a good co-worker. People associate negativity with you.”
• Messiness. Messiness, particularly in communal areas and shared workspaces, can breed negative judgments.
The good news, however, is that most of us don’t intend to offend, says Peter Post, a director at the Emily Post Institute and author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business. “The vast majority of employees don’t want to be rude to their co-workers. They want to be liked,” says Post.
— Adapted from “Why your co-workers don’t like you,” MarketWatch.