5 ways of being popular at office without being called the “boss’ pet”

19th Oct 2016
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Everyone hates a teacher’s pet. You always had that one kid in class who would remind the teacher about the homework that no one else had done, raise their hand every five minutes to ask questions and complain about the rest of the class to the teacher in charge. That person would single-handedly manage to alienate the rest of the class from themselves, in hopes of getting favoured by the authority, aka the teacher with most power instead. Except, what would happen eventually was that when the time came for a class picnic, forming groups for projects or even finding a table to sit at during recess, that pet would often find themselves alienated from the whole class.

not-being-boss-pet

If you think these pets leave you after middle-school, you’re very wrong. They follow you into you high-school, college and finally into your work-space as well, minus the untied shoelaces and the scrappy uniform. Everyone wants to have a good rapport with the authority. After all, that’s how you ‘go up the ladder’, but quite often in our quest to become the boss’ favourite, we end up becoming the same kind of pet you’d want to make voodoo dolls out of in school, and like them, you’ll find yourself alienated from the rest of the office.

What you need is a balance between being respected by your boss and being liked among your colleagues. So here is a list of things you can do that will ensure your popularity at the office, without being tagged as the boss’ pet.

Know where to draw the line

Offering compliments to your boss on several occasions, especially where applicable, is always great because it will definitely bring you onto their positive side. But at the same time, you need to understand the difference between blatant flattery and compliments. It’s easy to get carried away, but if your colleagues see you spending all your time singing praises of your boss, and to your boss, they’ll see signs of a pet-in-progress. To that end, you always need to keep a subconscious check on what you’re saying to your boss when you’re complimenting them. Keep an encouraging tone, something like a “You handled that customer call very well” as compared to a “You were so incredibly amazing with that call, how on earth do you do it?!”

Find a common ground with everyone

Just like the other children in the class would resent the fact that the teacher’s pet would always spend their time stuck to the former’s desk and as a result become a kind of confidante to the said teacher, your office colleagues will feel the same way if they see you harbouring a favoured relationship with your boss. To this end, you should make it clear to them that you are here to get along with everyone. The best ice-breaker in this case is to find a common ground with your colleagues and make them feel like you are a genuinely friendly person to remove any misconception of favouritism.

Maintain your integrity

Everyone loves to be idolised and sometimes, your boss may want you around over your other colleagues because they want you to feed their ego. As natural as this is, you need to make sure that you don’t lose your dignity in the process of trying to winning favour with your boss, because then people will invariably start looking at you as a dreaded ‘suck-up’. Use your intuition to know when you are being called in for valued work and when you’re being used. Understand the difference and put your foot down for when it’s the latter.

Try to learn from everyone

This holds true especially for when you have recently joined an office. The best way to form a good rapport with your colleagues as well as your boss is to try and learn from each of them. Approach them individually if you have to and ask them for guidance. People will like the fact that you approached them because it goes to show that you are someone who they won’t have difficulty working with.

Hard work and responsibilities

You don’t want to be stuck with the image of being someone who is trying to find their way up the hierarchical ladder by winning favours with the boss. More importantly, if you do get promoted or get assigned to head an important project, you want people to know that you got it because you worked for it, not because you were spending your day sprouting compliments in your boss’ ear. Ask for more responsibilities, help yourself grow professionally and most importantly, let your work speak for yourself. No one can ever challenge good work done.

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