Have you ever had a fellow worker who was ultra-talented, but was too arrogant, and was often ignored by his peers?
Have you had a colleague who was a little slow at work, but was such a hoot, and was always loved by everyone?
The talented and arrogant guy might be more likely to crack an interview; in the long run, though, the funny and slow guy would end up being the winner.
Joining as a part-time cashier during her college days, Ann-Marie Campbell climbed the corporate ladder to become the Executive Vice-President of all the U.S. stores of Home Depot. That put around 2000 stores and its nearly 400,000 employees under her supervision. Regardless, she carries out store visits where she personally communicates with the employees in face-to-face meetings. She talks about the common goals of focusing on providing the best services to their customers. This allows for her employees to take part in the decision-making process directly as well. What Ann-Marie does, makes her very approachable even though she’s a senior-level leader in a giant corporation.
“Talent will get you in the door, but the character will keep you in the room.”
As an executive presence coach, I ask my clients to literally live by this quote. It’s always so difficult to work with someone who is pompous, or just grumpy, or just always looking for ways to be alone. This is the attitude that makes managers unlikeable to their teams.
While people don’t tend to give enough credit to the likeability factor, it plays a significant role in building a basic rapport with a person. If you don’t find someone likable enough, chances are that you’ll try your best to avoid them, even if you find them competent.
As crucial as this factor is for an executive leader, what should one do to have a more pleasing disposition at work?
Here are 3 strategies to help you increase your likeability quotient at the workplace:
Find Shared Interest
You ask any two people why they became friends. And it’ll most likely be about having similar taste in movies or books, being from the same field of study, or liking the same kind of pizza, et al.
It might need two people more than commonality to keep their bond intact, but nevertheless, the commonality is what makes that bond possible in the first place. Commonality raises the chances of two people liking each other by several notches. Star salesmen are the best people to learn this from. They make it a point to relate to their potential customers who they know virtually nothing about. They know that earning someone’s trust is about showing them how they’re similar to each other.
Try to know the person’s hobbies, look at what they put on their desks at work, and gather up clues while talking to them; try to know what it is that you two could bond over. Let the other person know how similar you are.
Become Familiar with your Connections
The easiest way to cover the miles between acquaintanceship and friendship is through familiarity. Why do people from the same business unit always like to sit together for lunch? The reason is that familiarity brings in a level of comfort. And spending most part of your day at work, the least you can expect is being comfortable. This comfortability helps in building further commonality over time as well.
So, go out there, and try to have a real conversation with people instead of dropping their messages on the phone. Face-to-face interactions are always richer in quality and go a long way in increasing the chances of people liking you.
Spread Positive Energy
I won’t disagree with the fact that if two people have the same thing to crib about, they will instantly bond over it. Complaining about the exact same things is like a subheading under ‘Familiarity’. The question though is, for how long can someone see another person sulk?
Instead, be a joyful and optimistic person. Happy people are more likely to attract other people. It’s such a delight to be around someone who always has a nice thing to say, has a good sense of humor, and basically just radiates positivity through their persona. Being around positive energy is always easier when it comes to finding commonality. Who would instead want to be with someone who’s always nagging, or finding faults, or just generally fussing about things?
Work on being more gregarious, try to have more fun, and in no time will you see people ending up really liking you.
Impact on Leadership
The degree to which you are perceived to be friendly and approachable matters a lot, especially when it comes to business outcomes. According to the social exchange theory, a person expects both social and economic outcomes out of an interaction. These outcomes decide how the relationship is evaluated and further built upon. Research suggests that being likable increases the chances of collaboration in an interaction. Even if people give a thought to the economical costs, when you are likable, they are still more likely to collaborate and negotiate with you. Hence, your leadership needs to have a personal touch where only you know how to make people around you enjoy your company.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso knows when to diffuse difficult situations. He is leading a struggle for the independence of his nation where each day leads to more distressing news. Amid all the turmoil, he knows when to lighten the mood with a joke. He makes sure people are comfortable when listening to him.
Would you like to be in a situation where you’re speaking to a room full of people and no one wants to listen to you?
It’s not easy being likable but you can do it on your own with a Star Mindset.
People like people who are approachable. When you start being approachable, start finding things in common! Try to connect with people both between and beyond work. You have to be curious about people in order to build this sense of commonality and familiarity. Make sure all of these components are genuine as people can see right through the lack of integrity.
Would you like to genuinely connect with people starting from now?
3 Immediately Applicable Actionable Steps:
- Ask more questions about the other person. Try to know as much as you can without intimidating the other person.
- Put in the effort in initiating face-to-face conversation. Your employees might not take the first step if you’re their leader. But when the effort comes from you, they’ll make sure to continue getting familiar with you.
- Appreciate others whenever you can! People like it when they are in the spotlight and by giving it to them when they deserve it, they start sharing your genuine interest.
Only a winsome attitude can make you a friendly executive, and a likable manager – well, basically a Star Leader at your workplace! #BeTheSTAR