Liking the people you work with offers personal as well as professional advantages. Camaraderie among coworkers has been shown to increase productivity, job satisfaction, and even life satisfaction. It's a safe bet that most people consider employee compatibility to be an essential requirement for an optimum work experience. Liking one's co-workers will likely remain the key to overall job satisfaction as long as people are required to spend a lot of time on the job and work with the same people on a regular basis.

Anecdotal evidence throughout the culture suggests that liking one's co-workers is a cherished benefit and even good for business. For example, the U.S. Army for years ran advertisements using the jingle "Be All You Can Be" until market research indicated that to attract the next generation of personnel, a better approach would be to stress the opportunity to "work with people you like". Recent recruitment posters feature groups of people working together in a variety of occupations.

Jobs thrust different types of people together. Starting your own business is a way out of that situation. One highly motivating factor in the decision to become self-employed is that it allows you to choose your partners and employees, and ultimately to work with people you like.

In business, it is often necessary to deal with people you may not like or respect. The more important the situation, however, the more beneficial it is to feel genuine affinity with your coworkers. When seeking advice on the future of your firm, for example, you want to hear from someone you trust. It is worth taking the time to find people you "click" with and who fit into your company's business culture.

Professor John Lounsbury, Trump University faculty (psychometric assessments) and a professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee, has conducted extensive research in the area of job satisfaction. He has made some striking findings that suggest a positive correlation between employee compatibility and overall levels of personal satisfaction:

  • Based on a diverse sample of more than 1,100 adults in a variety of occupations, I've found that liking the people you work with is substantially related (positively) to overall job satisfaction and moderately related to both career satisfaction and life satisfaction. (See figure 1.)
  • Also, people who rate higher on the following traits tend to like the people they work with more: resilient/emotionally well-adjusted, extraverted-outgoing, agreeable, optimistic.
  • There are no differences in liking coworkers for males versus females, and workers age 20-29 like the people they work with more them those age 30-39.

While there is no single formula for happiness, evidence does suggest that working with people you like leads to greater personal satisfaction.

Figure 1People who report they are satisfied or very satisfied with their:Don't like the people they work withDo like the people they work withJob8%59%
Career38%70%Life as a whole41%83%
Source: John Lounsbury (Resource Associates, Inc.)

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