By Mel Sim

Which will get you further in your career?

Let me tell you a story about a colleague I once had. E had always been known for not being a hardworking teammate. She would be the last to saunter into the office but the first to dash off after work. She wasn’t entirely great at what she did either but she managed to pull it off. So much so after just two years, she was promoted to be the head of her team. Many of the colleagues were surprised at this promotion and wondered just what E’s secret was.

Here’s what it was: She was likeable. She made sure the top management knew her well, often engaging in casual conversation with the bosses. While others spoke ill of her behind her back, she never once gossiped about anyone. So it was hard to find real fault at her except for the fact that she didn’t work as hard as others would have. She always had something nice to say to you, and even though she knew everyone wasn’t really impressed with her work, she still came to work every day with a smile.

People came and went in the team but not E; she stayed the longest at the company, climbing up even higher the hierarchy!

Coincidence and luck? Not quite. E knew what she was doing and to be honest, there is something we all can learn from her. That is hard work alone won’t get you far at work but if you are likeable and know how to impress those who matter, you have a high chance of making it big.

But wait, we’re not asking you to stop doing your part at work! It’s still important to produce results through pure grit but we’re saying is it doesn’t have to kill you to get there. Sure, put in all the effort you can but know that being successful means more than just being hardworking. It also means being able to get along with others and also getting in on the good side of those who matter like your bosses.

Imagine this: If you spent all the time working so hard that you don’t bother trying to network or socialize or even get to know your bosses better, what good would that hard work be? Sure, you’d be known as a hardworking staff but we all know that you have to show more than just effort to be promoted. Things like being a team player, easy to work with, and even being able to delegate will improve your chances of being noticed for a more senior role.

In summary, nobody gets promoted just for being hardworking. That counts but it is a whole package – how you interact with clients, your soft skills – all that comes into play as well. Hard work is a good start but once you have that down, then it’s really time to focus on all the other elements that will make you indispensable in the company. Because the truth is everyone works hard at work so you need to distinguish yourself from all the other hard-working executives with something extra.

Like being likeable. Nobody faults someone everyone likes and being likeable puts you at top of mind. Need someone to deal with the difficult client? That’s you, the likeable one. Need someone to handle a tough project? That’s you too, the likeable and hardworking one.

In other words, to really get ahead you need to be doing more than just your job. Sometimes you need to do some politicking (it’s work, after all) and if you’re too busy just working hard, you won’t notice how your colleagues are busy overtaking you by setting her sight on the prize. Hard work doesn’t matter much is no one recognizes you’re doing it. But what you need to do is make people notice your effort – and you.

Do you agree or not? Should you be hardworking or likeable? Tweet and let us know @Graduan.

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Usplash

Share this article: