By Leia O’Connell, MSW
Contributor and Career Coach, APUS
I often tell job seekers about the importance of likeability during the interview process and their correspondence with a hiring manager. A potential employer is not only assessing your skills, experience, and accomplishments, but also how well you would fit with their team. Now, let’s say you’ve already got the job and are having trouble moving up in your company. While there a many reasons this may be occurring, chronic complaining may be what’s holding you back.
Do You Use Time Spent With Your Manager as a Way to Vent About Everything You’re Unhappy With?
Take a moment to reflect on your interactions with your manager. When you direct the conversation, what do you talk about? Are you excited about new opportunities and projects? Do you ask your manager about their weekend? Or do you use that time exclusively for expressing frustrations? Consider that with each interaction, you’re leaving an impression of who you are as a professional. Your manager is likely connected with other managers in your company. If you only use your time to complain, you can bet more people than your manager know this.
Expressing frustrations from time-to-time is okay – but, make sure you’re presenting reasonable solutions along with them.
Evaluate Your Individual Presence on a Team
It can be difficult to take a step back and evaluate how you may be perceived by your teammates. What is your role during meetings? Do you use this time to express your frustrations about the company? Are you noticing your co-workers becoming frustrated when you speak, or even hesitating to comment for fear of being attacked?
It’s great to be passionate; but, don’t forget that communication requires balance. If you’re using your skills as a job security safety net for forceful interactions, don’t. The most successful individuals know that their ideas are best received when communicated positively.
Proactively Ask For Feedback
Asking for feedback on how you can improve your personality is no easy task. But if you’re not sure if you’re a chronic complainer, the best way to find out is to ask. Consider how you can make your communications more solution-focused and leave a lasting positive interaction on those you work with. Remember, if being likeable helped you get the job, it can help you get the next one too.
[Related article: How to Deal With Chronic Complainers]
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