What Specific Traits Make People Nice To Work With?

By: Chris Mahlmann Last Updated: June 18, 2010

It is incredibly easy, and quite fun at times, to get all wound up about people that are an absolute pain in the rear to interact with in your working life.  Maybe they are small minded, argumentative, inflexible, ignorant, slow moving, grouchy, or just plain not that bright.

But what is it about some people that just makes it enjoyable to work with them?

Everybody has their day and moments, where a jerk can act like a prince, or a princess can turn a little witchy.  What is it though that makes the people that are more often that not, easy to work with, that way?  Is it the same trait in all of them, do those traits vary a lot by the person, or is it a set of common traits that they each have in common, though the total package that they come in might be quite different?

Think of business relationships that you have, whether it is a customer of yours, a vendor or supplier to you, people that you partner or communicate with, folks that are on your team, your direct boss, your employees, some organization, or a colleague in a related business.

For me probably number one is attitude.  Ideally they do not have any of it, and if they do, it is a good one.  I like people who are just nice and normal to deal with as humans.  People who do not take themselves too seriously, no matter what their line of work or stature is.  Not that we shouldn't seriously all work our tail off in whatever it is that we do.  Nor should everyone be polite and well mannered every minute of the day, or hold back on opposing views that they have.  Just be normal, open minded about other peoples opinion, and nice to deal with in the process.

The vast majority of people I know are not curing cancer, nor are they rocket scientists, and I think you can enjoy your work and have some fun while working, even if those are your professions.  Plenty of people may not love their job, or think where they work is equally as fun and stimulating as whatever they wishfully thought about as a kid, that they wanted to do when they grew up.  It seems like you have two choices though pretty much whatever hand you are playing though.  Love it or leave it.  If you can leave something you don't enjoy, you should.  If you can't, or you don't want to right now for a whole bunch of different potential reasons, then why not try to do more than just bear it.  Why not grin while you are bearing it.

I grew up in the commodity and financial markets, where many tend to have a thick skin, a sharp tongue, and it is common to find candor and humor as two of the many mental outlets for the fast pace and volatility naturally associated with the chaos of what happens around the world every day.  When you walked onto a trading floor, there for sure was a status associated with the color jacket the trader or clerk had on, or where that trader stood in the pit.  At the end of the day though, there were winners and losers, and a winner today could and likely would be a loser tomorrow.  Even someone that was very successful over a long period of time, could see in their daily trade run that they were only right 50-60% of the time. That real time feedback helped the best of them to not believe their own bs, and led the worst of them to explode pretty fast because they did.  As aloof as someone might get, the market could hand them their head 20 minutes later.

So for me having a good attitude, being pretty self aware of what you are good at, and what you are lousy at, conciously enjoying what you are doing as long as you are doing it, and just being honest about things always seems to ring home for me.

What about you?

Natalie Banner Connors
People that understand change is not a threat!

Tammy Balke Sella
Equality, teamwork and a great sense of humor :)

Sarah Andrews Johnston
I love it when co-workers can "shuck and jive" with me while we rock it and get the work done.

Leann Rhodes Olson
Someone who smiles and laughs can brighten my day

Miriam Williams
When they take the time to KNOW their trade! That means they have genuine interest.

Debbie Gumulauski Rzepczynski
I'll hope for people with positive dispositions, but I'll settle for a great sense of humor!

Dennis Duncan
I like that fact that in a profession where "image" is important (like law enforcement) that there are those that don't take themselves too seriously. They take their job seriously, but know when to lighten the mood with some self-inflicted humor.