Written by: Emily Wagner

Likeability is about brand and human responsiveness, not always people-pleasing and popularity. There is an authenticity to connecting with people and igniting response. Some may feel professional success and likeability are a contradiction, as to lead successfully one must make tough calls and not let emotions change the trajectory of decision making, and by striving to be liked by others it compromises one’s ability to determine best outcomes for the business… This is absolutely not true in the world we work in today.

There is a huge difference between being someone who needs to prove their authority to “gets things done” and someone not viewed as either sensitive or emotionally charged. The ability to play nice with others may sound elementary, but it can impact your career significantly, even at the highest levels. Like it or not, the feelings of your peers, support teams, and even leadership are important. Being able to make timely, firm, and final decisions does not mean you must bulldoze everyone in your path. Both commanding figures and those overly in-tune with the emotional response of their teams can lead and even do so successfully, but those who will change the business landscape for their companies and impact careers for years to come, will find the delicate balance.

These are 3 things to remember daily to be a mindful leader:

1) There are NO excuses to treat people badly.

A bad day, a tight deadline, personal issues spilling into your workday happen to everyone. You will occasionally slip and likely not show your finest side in every professional moment, but having the mental and emotional maturity not to take it out on those around you is a skill great leaders will master. Furthermore, the phrase “I’m just being honest” is just a mask of saying something condescending or snarky and getting away with it. Emotionally intelligent leaders find a way to get through a bad day or a really tough decision without compromising respect. Raise the bar for yourself and your teams.

2) Don’t compete, rather collaborate.

Don’t think you can take on every task alone or better than anyone else supporting you. You have a team of people around you hired to tackle things you cannot (whether that be from a lack of technical expertise or just time in the day). Utilize them and empower them to do the job better than you could yourself. Don’t compete against talented and hardworking people to prove your own competencies. Even an employee with little to no experience may just be able to see a vision differently you’re your own, for the better. Also, a reminder… if you are well paid, it is likely your peers are too and they are in their positions for a reason. Be willing to listen and understand opinions and voices that differ from your own.  Your personal success will skyrocket when both your team and colleagues are thriving alongside you.

3) Keep your ego in check.

If an entry-level employee let’s their ego get in the way, they are viewed as entitled and likely passed over for big projects and promotions and falling behind the curve of their peers early on. Conversely, an executive with a rampant ego raises major red flags with their own leadership, the public eye, and board members and investors. Once you get stamped with a bad reputation in your industry for your inability to relate and put your ego aside, it is incredibility difficult to shake. Relatability is credibility at every level.

People want to work in respectful environments where they are valued and voices heard, there is nothing groundbreaking about that. But also, being likeable isn’t a crutch to avoid tough situations. The most accomplished people will becomes students in likability throughout their careers and fine tune this ability as a genuine tool for success.

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