“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
Years ago when actress Sally Field won her first Oscar, she tearfully thanked her fans with these words, “You like me, you really like me!” This moment not only touched the hearts of those in the audience but put into words what all of us long to say at one time or another.
The desire to be liked is a part of our human nature, however, to be “likable” is may require a change in behavior that requires self-awareness and discipline. In a work environment it is much more enjoyable to have a team that has a high “likability factor” and this often begins with the leader. Take a look at these traits that are found in leaders deemed exceptionally likable:
Honesty. Being honest is essential to being liked. No one likes a fake. This isn’t always easy to do and can be painful. Encourage honesty with your team — lead by example in all areas of your life — it will pay off.
Sincerity. People like you when you are genuine. Embrace the successes of others and be quick to compliment at every level of the company. Know your own strengths and work on your weaknesses – accepting that everyone is more skilled than you at something. Take hold of this asset that you have on your team and let them get the glory.
Attentive. Think about people as individuals — and consider what makes them tick and motivates them to be the best especially in their area of expertise. Be open to their ideas and opinions. This will enable you to better understand and focus on what you can do for your employee—and they will respond positively.
Curious. A likable person is masterful in getting others to talk about themselves without them even knowing it! How do they do it? They are attentive and ask questions that invite the how, why and who of the other person. This conversation showing your interest in what is important to them is priceless for all. In addition, when you ask this questions to your employees, you never know when you are going to land on an amazing treasure trove of talent that will help enhance productivity (always a plus!)
In short, the path to likability is a two-way street — you have to like yourself AND like others! This includes a commitment to being honest, genuine, attentive to learning more about yourself and those that you work with. Although this may seem unconventional for a leader to do, you will find the rewards you gain to be fulfilling both personally and collectively in your organization.