likeable businessmanWe all have worked with people who build a career based on their deep skills and expertise. However, how many of those people find themselves “derailed” or “topped out” as they move up in an organization because they are difficult and no one really wants to deal with them?

Research has proven, time after time, that people who are “likeable” are more likely to be hired and promoted throughout their career. The more likeable you are, the more people enjoy being around you. People will follow you…and be loyal to you!

Tell me, who would you rather spend time with, (much less devote countless hours of work time with)? The Grinch or little Cindy-Lou Who?  Scrooge or Bob Cratchit?

While some people may naturally be more likeable, likeability is not something you are born with. It is a skill you can develop.

Here are some common characteristics likeable people possess:

  • Positive Outlook– these are the folks who tend to be more optimistic and look for the upside in any situation. They will find the silver lining in the clouds and recognize what is in their control to influence vs. dwell on what has “been done TO them”.
  • Strong Interest in Others– they want to know what’s going on with other people, take an interest in what is important to others and volunteer to help others should they need assistance. It’s not about them, it’s about the other person!
  • Good Sense of Humor– this is the person who can lighten up a tense situation by using humor appropriately. They can laugh at themselves, don’t take themselves too seriously and make the workplace more fun.
  • Assume the Best– this is similar to the positive outlook, but as it relates to people, they assume others have the best intentions and want to do their best work. They are not cynical and make it easy to do work together. They look for the good in other’s work and recognize their contributions.
  • Flexible– while it is not expected that they would lessen their work standards, they are not so rigid as it relates to adjusting to other’s communication & interaction preferences and are willing to negotiate and collaborate in order to achieve the best results. They are also often able to accept change and focus on moving forward vs. wallowing in “the way things used to be”.
  • Authentic– Likeable folks are comfortable in their own skin. They are genuine, without pretense and put people at ease.  These are the people who are easy to talk to and can strike up a conversation with just about anyone…also because they have a genuine interest in others.

So how do you fit these descriptors?

If there are some qualities here you’d like to develop further, I have a few suggestions.

  1. Seek out those who are “likeable” ask them to help/mentor you. Ask them for feedback about your own behaviors and seek out their advice when faced with a challenging situation. Remember one of their characteristics is that they like to help others, so it’s a low-risk ask!
  2. Spend more time with likable people – just like those who are good cooks because they spent time with their mom/dad in the kitchen, spending time with likeable people has a tendency to rub off on those around them. That’s one reason why people enjoy being in their presence and are viewed as “natural leaders”. Most people don’t enjoy being around a grumpy, complaining person. The up-beat person will always draw a crowd.
  3. Catch yourself being negative or self-absorbed in the moment and choose a different behavior – like the ones mentioned above. Pay attention to your thoughts and listen to your words. Self-correct, apologize to those you may have offended and do better next time.

The holidays are a great time to be merry so take advantage of the festive atmosphere, give those around you a dose of likeability and make it the gift that keeps giving all year long!

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