Improving Your Colleagues' Perception of You
By Lolita Villa

Someone once said that if you're looking for love and friendship, you look for it in your family and other relationships, and not in the workplace. And yet no matter how professional you can be at work, you can't afford to alienate ourselves from the people around you. And that entails having good reputation and working rapport with your co-workers.

Being ignored at the office, not getting invited to social functions, or having a boss perceive you poorly are problems which will take its toll on you in the long run. Sooner or later, unhappiness and non-sociability will affect not only the tasks that should be done in the spirit of teamwork, but also your personal effectiveness on the job as well.

Getting along with the boss
The best way to get along with the boss is to do a good job and to keep him aware of your progress. Meeting deadlines and consistently performing brilliant and competent work will instantly get your boss to like you, no matter how shy you are. Getting liked and recognized is the first step in establishing a pleasant and friendly relationship.

However, doing well on the job isn't the only criteria towards getting a good reputation with your employer. You also need to make sure that people aren't assassinating your character behind your back, gossiping about your life or spreading false and conflicting rumors that will eventually reach the boss' ears. The biggest misconception people think is that "as long as I do my job right I'm fine," rumors notwithstanding. Your performance is not only gauged by what you achieve within your cubicle, but also extends towards the goodwill you carry among your colleagues. Getting along with others eradicates other "issues" that does not contribute positively to the work at hand, and keeps your boss from doubting your effectiveness in dealing with others in a team setting or supervisorial role.

Therefore, as you endeavor to make a good impression with your boss, don't neglect to reach others in a gesture of goodwill and cooperation as well.

Working with arch-enemies
One of the biggest headaches that can be had in the workplace is having to work with people that you have irreconcilable differences with. A head of a rival department, a co-worker who is also an ex-boyfriend, a trouble-making assistant or a narrow-minded or spiteful colleague whom you've had trouble getting along with are potential sources of disagreement and abrasive interaction. Though you may be tempted to just avoid these people, sooner or later, depending on the nature of your job and how interconnected you are with these individuals or the departments they work for, you're going to have to deal with them.

The best way to resolve differences with co-workers whom you are forced to work with on a mutual project is by setting aside egos, taking the initiative to forgive and forget, and apologizing, regardless of who started the quarrel first. Choosing to forget the past and start anew by approaching your erstwhile enemy in a spirit of "let bygones be bygones" over coffee is the mark of maturity and proactiveness. This is not a sign of weakness; in fact, people who have such attitudes come out as victors in the end.

Unless the person is rigid and close-minded to your offer of friendship, don't give up and don't fret. Having done your part, and releasing all feelings of ill-will will give you the freedom to perform your best in the project. Meanwhile, let your partner grapple over his or her bitter feelings until they get tired of it and make friends with you voluntarily.

Becoming more sociable
One of the trickiest situations is neither being disliked or liked, but being ignored at work. Most quiet and shy people have this problem, and the long term results vary, depending on the situation. As a rule, if you've set your sights on being recognized for your efforts and getting a promotion within your own time frame, this kind of attitude is not going to work, especially if you are in a corporate culture where everyone is expected to be a go-getter.

Doing good work is fine; getting noticed for it is another matter. Take care to advertise yourself to the right people, making sure that your superiors are well aware of your progress, and that your co-workers are aware of what you can contribute to your department, without threatening them or inspiring feelings of envy or inferiority within them. On the other hand, touching base with your colleagues after office hours is just as important as sharing smiles and friendly words during the rush hour. Sharing lunch, going out with the group to unwind, and attending cocktails with your co-workers are important matters if you're going to be a well-rounded individual, with a solid social foundation at your organization. Spearheading company functions in the spirit of camaraderie will not go unnoticed either.

If you have trouble dealing with shyness, start small. Smile, be friendly and helpful, and take a genuine interest in the people around you. Invite someone you don't know that well to lunch or coffee. Planting small seeds of goodwill are bound to blossom when people naturally respond to your gestures of friendship.

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