Ask yourself: Do people like me?
You get promoted in this world because people like you, not because you get the work done. In fact, a study just published in the Harvard Business Review shows that people would rather work with someone they like who is incompetent, than someone who is competent but not likeable.
Keep in mind that likeable is not as subjective as it seems. For example, most people like Bill Clinton. He just has a likeable personality. Even Bush family members, Clinton's political polar opposites, say that they like his personality.
So if you want to get ahead at the office, you need to figure out how to make your personality likeable in the office. Usually, it's not that you have to change your personality, but rather make sure that your true personality shows through at work. Most people, if they're true to themselves, if they're really being themselves at the office, will be likeable.
Unfortunately, most people think they're more likeable than they really are and therefore do not try hard enough. There are many things that keep people from being likeable. Here's a list of 10:
1. Using sarcasm as a defense mechanism. You probably don't know if you're using it as a defense mechanism. But if you use sarcasm a lot, it's a safe bet that you're using it to no good.
2. Being quiet from insecurity. People are inherently social animals. If you have nothing you want to say, then you are probably not likeable because you have nothing to offer. If you do have things to say but you don't say them, then you are not likeable because you're so insecure that you'll sound stupid when you talk.
3. Not revealing emotions. Keeping to yourself emotionally makes you seem one-dimensional, and it's hard to convey likeability with no depth. You have to know your emotions to share them with other people.
4. Being too smug– as in not asking for help or not revealing that you have had help along the way. You might want to make yourself look like Superman, able to do anything in a solitary bound, but superheroes don't exist. Real people need real help– and express appreciation when they get it.
5. Not seeing people for who they are. I.e. treating powerful people well and powerless people poorly. Power structures do not define a person; they define a person's clout. Treat everyone with respect, or you will lose yours.
6. Being bored by others. The most likeable people make other people feel interesting by genuinely caring about them.
7. Being obsessed with your workload. If you think work matters more than people, then that will be true– for you. And people will expect you to be a workhorse but will not want to get to know you. And they need to know you to like you.
8. Not taking responsibility. If you blame people for your problems, people are not going to like you– even if they are not one of the people you blame. If people don't like you, it's your own fault. Likeable people are liked in all circumstances.
9. Hiding from objective feedback. You can get it from therapists, co-workers, teachers, coaches, but you have to seek it out.
10. Not trying to change. All the knowledge in the world cannot overcome a resistance to change. The ego is very strong and can rationalize anything. Don't do that. Take criticism to heart, and address it, no matter how likeable you think you are. You'll be more likeable right away, because listening to others and trying to change one's self are both inherently likeable qualities.