How To Make Coworkers Feel Important

One of the deepest urges we have as humans is to feel that we’re important. After all, is there anything better than the feeling of knowing you did a great job on something that made a huge impact in your workplace?

The feeling of being important is not just something that we get from what we do; it’s something that we also get from the people around us and the relationships that we have. This is great news, because it means that anyone at any time can be a resource for helping others feel that they are important.

And if you can be the person in your workplace who makes everyone else feel important, you’ll soon find yourself at the center of a highly motivated, productive and powerful network that appreciates you and your input.

Here are five strategies you can use to make other people feel more important at work:

Shift your mindset to make every word sincere.

If the idea of intentionally making someone feel important feels a little sleazy to you, shift your mindset. Don’t think of this strategy as a way to sucker people into working harder or to superficially like you more. Think of it as a new way of doing business that puts people first. Make valuing others a true core value for you and soon it will feel natural to put the needs and interests of others before your own.

Decide to be vocal about praise.

It’s so easy to get used to all of your workplace perks and start to focus on what doesn’t suit you. People are naturally pessimistic because we’re always alert for bad news to protect ourselves. We also assume that “no news is good news,” so we only bring things up when something goes wrong. Unfortunately this can lead to a skewed workplace where everyone remains silent when you do a great job and makes loud noises when you mess up. The first step in helping others to feel important is to make the conscious decision to voice your praise when things are going right and not just raise criticism when things are going wrong.

Practice being grateful.

To unearth more opportunities to show others that they’re important, reflect on how your successes are the direct result of support from others and how much you appreciate people outside the workday and beyond a paycheck. From how a certain administration assistant greets you every morning to the way a seasoned coworker runs a meeting efficiently (compared to how someone else runs it), moments of appreciation will appear to you the more you look for them.

Be specific about your feedback.

When you see something for which you are grateful, be as specific as you can. Instead of complimenting your seasoned coworker’s meeting style by saying, “Great meeting today Ron,” go for an explicit compliment such as “Ron, I wanted to take a second and let you know how much I appreciate your meeting style. I feel like you always run a tight ship, and you very rarely have technical errors. I know you’ve been doing this a long time, so I wanted to let you know that it really shows.”

Don’t let it be awkward.

If you’re out of practice, your first few compliments may feel stuffy or brown-nosing. It will get better with time, and you’ll also learn that it’s only awkward if you let it be. Don’t let awkward silence hover after you give Ron the compliment above. Share your thoughts, smile for a beat, and walk away. Say what you have to say with confidence and expect nothing in return, and you’ll find that people will follow your lead.

Feeling important in the workplace is a huge boon to productivity and feeling like you belong. Have you ever been complimented at work in a memorable way? Let us know in the comments below!