LIKEABILITY IS NOT A GIFT - IT'S A SKILL SET
Likeability is a skill well worth developing. It’s like a real world Get Out of Jail Free card — shape-shifting seamlessly into big favors, moral support, even cash. Likeability can seal a deal but when lacking, it can sink even the most buoyant of opportunities. As there are hundreds of ways to build muscle mass, there are hundreds of ways to increase likeability. Try to learn by observing the behavior of popular — but still genuine — people. To build your likeability muscle mass more proactively, bring your attention to these central components:
1. Develop a positive attitude. Allow people to count on your outlook and resiliency. Turn difficulties and negative situations into healthier positive ones.
2. Construct a nonjudgmental outlook. Use every opportunity to express your belief that people are good-natured and deserve respect and understanding.
3. Remain open to new people and practices. Different isn’t necessarily bad. Change is mostly good; it’s inflexibility that’s bad.
4. Be secure in yourself. Likeable people like themselves enough to wisely hold their tongues. Don’t belittle or correct colleagues and use humor in a self-deprecating way.
5. Demonstrate vulnerability. People need to see that you are human and make mistakes (and admit them). Show sensitivity to other people and their challenges.
6. Be self-aware. Teach others the examined life has far more value than the unexamined one. Reach outside yourself. Be a compassionate leader and learn about the interests/needs of your team.
7. Find common ground. Seek points of similarity regardless of differences with others. Discuss and celebrate the values you share and the things you all like and love.
8. Collaborate with others. Share success and provide value to your colleagues. Grant full ownership to others on projects and acknowledge achievements and “first’s.”
9. Believe in something and become a person of conviction. People like those they respect. Be a leader with strong values and show your team how you stand behind your ethics.
10. Perform small acts of recognition and kindness. There’s no such thing as a kindness that is too small. Stand out by being the most polite and considerate person they’ve ever encountered. There’s less competition for this title than you’d ever think!
LIKING LEADS TO TRUSTING
Here’s the thing. Not everyone can be likeable all the time; it’s bad for the species. By its very nature, survival of the fittest requires even the nicest gazelles to selfishly leap right past the young, sick (and slow) gazelles as the herd flees from a brutal hyena attack. It takes geniuses, saints, artsy-creative types, shut-ins, actors, violently selfish dirt-bags, fabulous athletes, boring folks, egomaniacs, more dumb-than-brave lugs, nice guys, social parasites, etc. to move a species forward. Plus, no great society has ever completely avoided the plague of village idiots, ball-handlers, bullies, psychopaths, liars, jug-eared jocks, jokers and people who refer to unusual events as “surreal” or insist on saying “my bad.” Is this group simply the inevitable outcome of the evolutionary crapshoot or just the not-so-intelligent part of intelligent design? With six billion people on the planet some huge jerks were bound to slip through.
Likeability. Besides learning that our olfactory glands can smell an unfriendly person, what can be immediately applied to our business? It just might be this: What goes around, does indeed, come around. Being likeable is a form of giving out the very best parts of yourself without any assurance of kindness coming back your way. It takes faith and trust to “pay it forward”; however, there is a powerful potential for payback. (It’s just that, often, there’s a delay in the payout.) The fact is, long after people forget what you did, they’ll remember how you made them feel. Embracing likeability will create a wave of tangible improvement to your business prospects and your personal world. That’s the principle and the power of likeability. Seek it out.
About the author: Chris Traynor, SPHR, is the Director for Whip-Smart™ Management Consulting, Wayne, N.J., and has 25 years of experience in the solid surface industry as a consultant to fabricators, distributors and manufacturers. He can be reached at email@example.com.