During my research for the article “Coping With Job Stress” (WAM Nov/Dec 2016), unlikeable bosses kept coming up as a major cause of stress for those who work under them. Not to get too technical, but I found some interesting information in a book by Tim Sanders entitled The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams. He says there are two hormones especially relevant in our emotional state: DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and cortisol. Basically, DHEA is the feel-good hormone; cortisol makes us feel stressed out.
With symptoms like these, maybe we should care what others think about us and give up the command and control, results oriented leadership style and become better with interpersonal skills. Otherwise you will have irritable and cranky workers who don’t like you very much, which means they aren’t going to work well with others and their job efficiency will tank.
Yes, the most successful leaders are those that are likeable. Be honest now; do you think those you lead like you? If not, it’s not too late to change. Better social skills are learnable. Here are ten ideas, if cultivated, will help you become a more likeable person.
Be Friendly — Be down to earth and approachable. You make people feel good about themselves when you show interest in them. Don’t pass up a chance to make others feel comfortable.
Be Humble — Genuine humility is very appealing to others. Humility is not the opposite of arrogance; it goes hand in hand with confidence. That’s why fake humility is so transparent. So acknowledge your faults and defer to others when it’s legitimate.
Be Complimentary — When compliments to an employee are offered appropriately, we communicate that we value them and their contribution. People who feel comfortable complimenting others are more likeable.
Be Helpful — Be accessible to help others solve problems. If you take notice and help people solve their problems, you’ll create friends for life.
Be Happy — Develop a sense of humor; don’t take yourself too seriously. Start thinking happy thoughts and your demeanor will radiate the feelings of happiness within and transmit that into those around you.
Be Genuine — Never try to be something you aren’t. Be comfortable with yourself. This authenticity results in purity to your interactions with others because you show true interest in the other person.
Be Appreciative — Everyone wants to know how they are doing, so give feedback. Praise is just as important as criticism, and you should regularly compliment your people for a job well done. Show appreciation in a variety of ways. Keep it fresh and genuine.
Be Confident — Be a confident leader, without being arrogant. Likeable people are not insecure. Insecurity is a turnoff for many people. So be confident and outgoing enough to put your personality out there for all to see.
Be Positive — Have a positive attitude and let it be seen and felt by others. If you are optimistic and genuine with the people working around you, your workplace will be a healthy and constructive place to be.
Be Flexible — Be willing to consider viewpoints and suggestions of others. Try doing new things and doing things differently. People who are open to change will be viewed as more likeable. Try to be flexible whenever you can.
You Can be More Likeable
Quoting again from Tim Sanders book, The Likeability Factor: “An April 2002 poll of thousands of working and nonworking individuals conducted by the job-seekers website Monster.com found that 73 percent of respondents said they would accept less money if they could be happier at work.”
How to be a more likeable leader and have a happier workforce starts by being truthfully self-aware and asking yourself if I am the kind of person I would like. If not, you can start to change into a more likeable person by simply developing the habits I’ve outlined above.