Which personality traits will get you ahead at work?

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According to our recent research, 94.2% of the nation’s workers believer that there are key personality traits which make a person more likable in the workplace, with 86.6% believing that being likable can you get you further ahead in your career.

There’s always a mix of personalities in the workplace, but it is interesting to consider how certain traits can make you more respected amongst your colleagues, managers and clients, and potentially help you to get ahead at work.

Below, I explore some of our key findings in more detail, outlining the top five personality attributes which the nation’s workers believe make people more liked around the office.


Work can often get the better of us, particularly during busier periods. That’s why a bit of positivity can go a long way to motivating colleagues and making the entire working environment a nicer place to be! While we all enjoy a moan every now and again, or getting embroiled in the office gossip, try and keep a calm head and focus on achieving your day-to-day tasks in a positive manner – this is always appreciated by senior members of staff.


Whether it’s an issue to do with someone’s workload, or a private matter that is impacting day-to-day activities, having someone to talk to in the office, that is friendly and approachable, can help to ease any potentially negative situations. And this shouldn’t just ring true for senior members of staff – approachability is needed at any level! Consider how you might be perceived by your colleagues and try to think about ways in which you can offer help.

Sense of humour

While we come to work to do our job, we aren’t robots and we need a bit of interaction and fun to get us through! I think we can all say that someone who has a sense of humour, and who we can have a laugh with, is immediately more likeable, and this goes for the workplace too. That said, it’s important to get the balance right – don’t take it too far, or say anything inappropriate!


Honesty is the best policy in most situations, and office politics often get in the way of this. But, there’s always a nice way to tell the truth, or give constructive feedback, so try to be honest where you can, especially with your manager or direct reports. This will make you more respected throughout your career, while also labelling you as someone who is trustworthy and reliable.


Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on from time-to-time, especially at work when things can get heated as workloads creep up and stress levels heighten. It’s important to be sympathetic towards the feelings of others and to be there for any colleagues who might be having a particularly hard time. This will come naturally to some people, but if it doesn’t then don’t beat yourself up about it! Sometimes just a quick email to ask someone if they’re ok can help.

All in all, our research suggests that there are key personality traits; including being positive, approachable, honest, compassionate and having a sense of humour that can make people more liked in the workplace. While every working environment is different, it’s clear that employees have a good idea of what they want and don’t want from a colleague, and are aware that they have to possess certain attributes themselves, in order to get ahead in their career.

By Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library

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