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    Warm fuzzies in the pharmacy: The importance of being well liked


    Professional success is not just about doing your job well. And it’s not just about how you treat patients. It's also about how you interact with co-workers. Kelly Howard learned that the hard way. She shares her story here.

    The importance of being well liked? Really?

    Yes, really. Learn from my mistakes – it is not only important, but absolutely necessary to be well liked by your co-workers and supervisors. That is, if you want to have a successful career.

    Obviously, from our patients’ perspective, our warmth and responsiveness as people and the way we engage with them is crucial as well, but that’s a different article. What I’m talking about here is the spate of recent research suggesting that your chance of being hired or promoted is directly proportional to the degree to which your supervisors and co-workers find you tolerable, likable, and enjoyable to work with.  

    What didn’t work

    In my previous job, I made the grievous error of believing that if I willingly worked unpaid overtime, initiated effective clinical programs, and produced stellar patient satisfaction scores, then I didn’t need to repair a broken relationship with my supervisor or expend a lot of effort to get the new administration to like me.

    As I said, that was my previous job. I’m not there anymore, so obviously, I was wrong. You can be the smartest clinical pharmacist or the most efficient community pharmacist in the history of your company, but if your co-workers think you’re a jerk or your manager misperceives your lack of interest in her personal life as rude, than your tenure is likely to be short, or at the very least you won’t find a lot of raises or promotions coming your way. Is this unfair? Possibly. Is it a concrete fact of life? Absolutely.

    Perception is key

    As demonstrated during season after season of the television show “American Idol,” we Americans will fight for people we like, whether or not those individuals have any real discernible talent. The same is largely true in the American workplace. Employees who are well-liked are more likely to receive assistance from co-workers, be promoted, and have their mistakes forgiven.

    This is not to say that I think we should be abandoning substance in favor of style. My point is that we need to recognize the importance of how we are perceived by our co-workers and manager.

    Kelly Howard, BS, PharmD, BCPS
    Kelly Howard is a blogger and freelance pharmacist in Southeastern North Carolina. Contact her at [email protected] or ...

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    • Anonymous
      Got this advice about 20 years too late.