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Don't Underestimate the Power of Likability

"Leadership must be likable, affable, cordial, and above all emotional. The fashion of authoritarian leadership is gone." ~ Vicente del Bosque

Have you ever heard someone say, "I am not here to be liked. I am here to do a job?" I recall hearing this proud statement infused with passion and conviction, from plenty of my managers and peers. In my early career days, it seemed that it was just the right philosophy to adapt into my own style. And why not? It clearly justified the cause of meeting goals and objectives, right?

Not exactly! This way of thinking works for a short while. Yes, it is quite reassuring to know that when you purposefully ignore how people perceive you at work:

  • you do not get attached to anyone personally;

  • you don't feel too bothered or pained when giving tough feedback or fire someone;

  • and perhaps one more benefit, you don't need to spend your precious time, listening to others' opinions. After all, time is luxury for a busy and ambitious leader.

If this approach motivates you, go for it! Adapt it as well. But be warned, it is temporary.


Let me offer you another perspective that might spark your interest as part of this weekly tip. Explore it and see if the benefits outweigh the effort. Why not practice during the weekend, and then bring a new perspective to the workplace?

  • Gain more loyal followers. When someone has a likable personality, they tend to get more loyal followers and people who want to be around them for a long time.

  • Listen more than you talk. And, when listening, avoid the temptation of thinking about your own problems and to do's, or the responses to give. A likable person tends to be a great listener, therefore instilling a belief in others that they care. When someone cares about us, we feel joy and are willing to give back and contribute our best efforts.

  • Be present and be visible. The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle. If people are seeing you, feeling positive about interacting with you, they will find you more likable, because they start relating to you better.

  • Don't be afraid to be honest and transparent when affairs are not going as well as expected. When people think of you as a likable person, they forgive you a lot easier and faster for the mistakes that you will make. You are human, you will make mistakes! When you are genuine and transparent, you have a better chance to become liked by many.

Likability is one of the traits that, if developed, will increase your success. We have coaching plans that will help you in making personal and professional improvements.

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