How to be Someone Everyone Wants to Work With

Two smiling women, one writing in a notebook

When it comes to succeeding in your career, you probably already know about the importance of delivering results or strengthening your skills.

But you should also be thinking about becoming the type of person everyone wants to work with.

No matter what field or industry you’re in, or what level you are, your ability to work well with others is going to come in handy. After all, the workplace isn’t a vacuum. Even if you work remotely or in a small team, collaborating or communicating with others is a critical part of the job. And if you’re ever hoping to land a promotion or have a client refer you to other clients, it pays to be the type of person that people enjoy working with.

But how do you become the type of person that everyone wants to work with? It doesn’t seem as straightforward as developing a skill or widening your professional network. 

The good news is that people who are widely respected and admired in the workplace have common traits. With practice and experience, you can develop those traits and build a strong reputation as someone that everyone wants to work with. 

Emulate the kind of people you want to work with 

To be the kind of person everyone wants to work with, it helps to have a frame of reference and something to aim for. So think about the people you’ve enjoyed working with in the past. These can be managers, interns, assistants, colleagues, and clients. 

  • What was it about them that you admired? 
  • What characteristics, traits, or actions stood out to you? 

Maybe you appreciated an intern’s roll-up-your-sleeves attitude. Or your manager’s compassion and support. Or a coworker’s enthusiasm and positivity. 

Now take a look at some of your behaviors. What are some of the ways that you can shift your attitude to be more like the people you admire? What skills can you improve? What actions can you do more of? For instance, if you admire your intern’s can-do spirit,  think about all the ways that you can problem solve and find solutions.

Listen more than you speak

You don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to get everyone’s attention. 

Conventional job advice is to speak up in meetings and contribute to the conversation. But people also love working with someone who can listen well. And while it’s definitely important to speak up and make yourself heard, you also want to make sure that you’re actively listening and absorbing information. Your ideas won’t carry any weight if they’re not aligned with the discussion at hand or with what your boss is looking for.

So the next time you’re in a meeting, make sure to listen and take notes –this will help the information stick in your mind. Then, when there’s an opening, pitch your ideas or ask a follow-up question. 

Read the room

Along with being a good listener, knowing how to read the room is an essential skill in the workplace.

Reading the room can mean knowing how to conduct yourself in a meeting. So instead of shutting down people’s ideas, you’re building on them. Instead of pointing out flaws or problems, you’re contributing solutions.  

Reading the room can also mean knowing how to navigate interpersonal dynamics. For instance, pitching an idea to a manager who’s risk-averse. Or brainstorming with senior-level colleagues who are used to doing things their way.

Being able to deftly weave around these dynamics requires a certain level of skill and tact. Which is why, if you know how to read the room, everyone will want to work with you.

The ability to read the room will take time and practice. It’s important that you sit in on meetings and watch how your coworkers interact with each other. Who has your boss’s ear? Which coworkers dominate the conversation? And which coworkers know how to engage others? Take notes. Observe. You could also ask a colleague you trust for their advice on how to read the room. 

Know how to receive constructive feedback

We all know how important it is to deliver feedback in a constructive and supportive way. 

But knowing how to receive feedback is just as important as delivering it. 

Being receptive to feedback demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to growth. It also shows that you have a sense of humility. That you are willing to grow and learn. Your colleagues will want to work with someone who can take constructive criticism and learn from it. If you act defensively or even show anger when you receive feedback, you can give the impression that you’re unwilling to improve or listen to others.

Of course, receiving feedback can be a stressful experience. It makes you feel vulnerable. And you worry that you’re letting others down. But you can get better at receiving feedback. For example, taking notes during performance reviews or one-on-one meetings can help you feel less self-conscious and shift your focus to something more concrete. You can also reframe the feedback as a potential learning opportunity, and set small goals for yourself to improve your performance. 

Show up for others

While we all know how important it is to invest in ourselves and our career, it’s just as important, if not more so, to show up for others. 

Showing up for others is about being actively engaged in other people’s careers. Their milestones, achievements, and even their low times. 

Showing up can be demonstrated in a variety of ways:

  • Attending an intern’s farewell party and giving them a handwritten thank you card.
  • Congratulating a former coworker on their promotion. 
  • Checking in with a colleague who’s having a hard time.
  • Attending a lecture or panel that your boss is speaking at. 

You can show up for others in big or small ways. And no matter what you do, it will make the other person’s day. You’ll be known as the type of person who champions and supports others. And who wouldn’t want to work with someone like that?

Written by JiJi Lee

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