When it comes to being happy, research suggests that having influence and receiving respect from others matter more than money.
In a study performed at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, psychologist Cameron Anderson and his co-authors followed MBA students before, during and after completing their program, and found that social status was a bigger indicator of happiness than their salary or how much cash they had.
If you want to be seen more favorably at work, career experts say making just a few changes can help you greatly.
Here are four things you should consider ditching to gain esteem at work:
1. Sloppy emails
Managers pay attention to how you communicate. If you’re known for sending long emails or messages riddled with errors, people aren’t going to take you seriously.
“Get into the habit of slowing down,” says Vicki Salemi, career expert at jobs platform Monster. “Breathe. Pause.”
The CEO of a $16 billion company, Julie Sweet of Accenture North America, says that bosses pay attention to how employees communicate in emails. Though Sweet is a top executive, she still takes time every year to work on improving her communication skills.
If you can build a reputation for clear, short and error-free emails at work, you’ll have a leg up. According to data compiled by Monster from some 943,000 market-wide job postings, being able to communicate well is the most common soft skill employers are looking for.
2. Constant self-doubt
Research indicates that emotions are contagious, so if you feel down on yourself, others could start to notice. Brian Wong, a 26-year-old entrepreneur who works with top companies like Pepsi and McDonald’s, says confidence is crucial to building a good reputation.
“Thinking that people won’t take you seriously before you enter a conversation,” Wong tells CNBC, “is one of the biggest mistakes [early-career] professionals make.”
If you don’t feel confident, dedicate some time to improving your own self-image. Former Google career coach Jenny Blake encourages professionals to create their own “happiness formula,” and then schedule time during the week to act on it. Taking care of yourself personally, she says, translates into more confidence at work.
While you develop your own confidence, use body language tricks career experts say make you appear more self-assured. Some examples include standing up straight and making sure to breathe while speaking.
3. Stretching yourself too thin
Trying to accomplish too much, while well-intentioned, can backfire.
Consistently missing deadlines or under-performing can damage your professional reputation or worse, like negative performance reviews or getting fired. A University of California, San Francisco study shows that those who have greater difficulty saying “No,” are more likely to experience burnout and even depression.
As billionaire Warren Buffett says, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
While you won’t want to simply say “No” to your boss, asking for their help prioritizing your work can help reduce stress. That will ensure that you’re doing what he or she wants and help convey your heavy workload.
Once you have a handle on your priorities, you’ll not only make sure to get your work done, you’ll be better positioned to exceed expectations, one of the best ways to set yourself up for a raise or a promotion.
“Getting promoted is not just about doing your job,” says Suzy Welch, a bestselling management author and CNBC contributor. “It’s about over-delivering, which involves re-thinking the way you do your job.”
4. Keeping to yourself all of the time
Though it may be easy to sit at your desk and type all day, getting out of your comfort zone and making an effort to reach out to others can go a long way.
People who have positive relationships with their bosses, according to a national Gallup survey, are more likely to feel engaged at work. Researcher and best-selling author Shawn Achor found that people who showed “social support” to others helped their own career in the process. Those who encourage engagement in the office are 40 percent more likely to get a promotion, he writes in his book “The Happiness Advantage.”
“Each one of us is like that butterfly in ‘The Butterfly Effect,'” he writes. “Each tiny move toward a more positive mindset can send ripples of positivity through our organizations, our families and our communities.