Seeking approval is what most of us do throughout the course of our lives. We seek it as children from our parents, we seek it from our peers during the adolescent stage because we want to belong, and we seek it from our superiors later in life for the sake of advancing in our career. To be honest, the term “everyone” is too broad – not everyone wants everyone’s approval, even if you are the president, there will still be people who don’t want to earn your approval. However, if you are an employee and you have your heart set on impressing everyone in the office, even your boss, we’re here to tell you that it’s not an impossible task.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is why anyone would want your approval, and does your approval mean anything? Truth be told, if you do not possess any sort of authority, your approval probably means nothing. Still, this does not imply that nobody wants it. All you need to do is play your cards right and you’ll instil a need for approval in others. Here’s a guide on how to efficiently pull it off.
1. Make it a rare commodity
First of all, no one will care about your approval if you just hand it out. Sure, you’ll be pleasant company, but things that come easy are rarely appreciated. Gold is a precious metal only because of its scarcity. In other words, if you rarely praise someone it becomes meaningful. It’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t praise someone’s ideas too seldom either, because people will eventually stop putting in the effort.
This can put you in a difficult position, because you might end up praising something that’s actually worse than a thing you disapproved of previously. To avoid this simply say “You know what, I thought about it, and your suggestion from last week was actually a good one.” Here are some personality traits you might need to adopt in order to make your approval count.
Wet Blanket – Basically whenever your co-workers get hyped about something or decide to celebrate, you list the reasons why their joy is to be short-lived. It doesn’t matter whether you are right or wrong, as long as your arguments make sense.
Critic – You’ll need a set of good arguments to explain why you don’t agree with something. This overdose of constructive criticism will put you in a difficult position, because you’ll come off as narcissistic and hypocritical if you don’t look at your own work from the same perspective. The best way to ensure you are asked for your opinion again is to present your ideas to someone else. It shows everyone that you are relatively fair and expect the same treatment.
The ultimate solution – a simple tip is to throw money at people whenever you agree with them. It looks insane, but if you manage to convince everyone that you are mad enough to give money to someone when they impress you with their creativity, they will continuously try to do so. It doesn’t have to be a wad of cash; free dinners or a few rounds of drinks can be more than enough to incite people to seek out your approval. You can avoid acting like a douchebag by doing this on the rare occasions. Yes, money can’t solve all problems, but it can really help you with this personal achievement.
2. Become a worthy judge
If you want your opinion to matter, you must work on its value. First don’t speak at all if no one asked for your opinion. If everyone is discussing something, they will quickly notice the silent one in the room, and ask why that person is not participating in the debate. When you are asked to share your thoughts, just say you don’t think the plan will work. This triggers an immediate reaction in people to ask you to elaborate on your statement. This is the best way to express your disagreement, because you eliminate the possibility of someone saying “Keep quiet, nobody asked for your opinion.” In other words, you didn’t choose the judge life, the judge life chose you.
Here are some other traits you should have for the sake of being an adequate judge:
Unbiased - You must not allow your personal emotions to interfere with your criticism. People will notice these patterns and try to pitch ideas with the same theme, because they know it’s the method that works. You will also have to agree with people you don’t particularly like, and disagree with people who are your friends. As long as you manage to maintain this neutrality people will consider you as a viable source of good opinions.
Honest – There are many ways to mask your honesty. You can wrap up criticism in a praising statement, or wrap up approval in criticism. However, you shouldn’t be using any of those; if you want people to yearn for your positive feedback you should be quite cynical. Again, be careful not to overdo it, because people have their capacities and won’t tolerate you for too long. Furthermore, you can use the technique of withholding your honest opinion by simply saying: “I am not sure you want my honest opinion.” Once you have their blessing give them a couple of home truths.
Remember, the best way to be regarded as a judge in a first place is to have great achievements of your own. For a boss this is easy, but as an employee it would be ideal to impress the superiors by being the worker of the month. It also helps if you are a celebrity, or a rock star at your workplace, or to put it bluntly, someone who is idolized. If you achieve this status people will surely want your approval, without you even having to utilize most of the strategies outlined in this article.
Have you considered becoming everyone’s enemy (frenemy)? There is another form of approval that others can crave, and that is for you to admit defeat. Therefore, if you are regarded as an enemy, or office antagonist, people will work hard to prove you wrong. It is very similar to seeking approval, because you are everyone’s rival in a way, and nothing makes one’s blood boil with excitement more than beating his or her arch nemesis.
3. Learn to deal with it
This is a very important step. If you don’t know how to cope with what you have become, you’ll start to lead a life of a pariah. Sure, your opinion will have greater value, but as long as you follow strict guidelines, people will avoid you at parties and their relationship with you will be strictly professional. So, you need to introduce some redeeming qualities, in order to give people a reason to tolerate you.
You can bring alcohol or take everyone out for a drink every Friday. You can buy a whole cake for everyone in the office saying “I think we needed something to lift our spirits and get our blood sugar up, so we can think straight.” Basically, you need to show people that you are not completely devoid of any sense of humour and empathy. As long as you manage to balance out the amount of negativity you bring to your workplace, people will be able to look past you cynicism.
It is worth mentioning that this does not turn you into any sort of authority figure, it only makes people glad you agree with them for once.
Do people in your workplace seek your approval? Do you have any tips? Share with us in the comment section below.