If you thought you left the world of cliques and in-crowds behind when you left high school, you'd be wrong.
The benefits of being popular extend all the way into the adult workplace, based on research in the latest issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Just like children on the playground, co-workers not only agree on who's popular, but they also afford those lucky few more favorable treatment. This includes more help and courteous conduct, and less rudeness and withholding of helpful information, based on a study of 255 employees and their co-workers in hospital, restaurant, sales and administrative jobs.
The researchers, Brent Scott of Michigan State University and Timothy Judge of the University of Florida, said popular workers drew more co-worker support regardless of their status on the organization chart. They also may gain an unfair advantage over less charming colleagues, the researchers suggest, which may hinder a meritocracy. "By valuing popularity, organizations may be promoting a certain 'clubby' atmosphere that mimics school culture" rather than rewarding merit, the researchers write.
But what these researchers call popularity, career coaches might call savvy office politics -- the art of getting people in your corner.About a year ago, I volunteered to mentor a young journalist. She was about to marry and wanted to know how I balanced everything -- how I managed to be an editor, mom, wife and human being, and seem to handle all of it.
My first impulse was to say, "I have no idea, I just do." And to be honest, that's the way I feel most of the time.
Here's what I do know: It's a complicated dance where missteps can be a really big deal, so before you get it right, you practice a lot and get it wrong (or, well, not perfect) more times than you want to remember. But then some days you just realize that your dance is working out pretty darn close to the way you choreographed it in your head.
Okay, so maybe I've idealized it a bit. My...