Does Being Liked at Work Matter?

[Pssssssst, did she just use the L-word?]

One of my close friends is in the last phase of a selection process for a new assignment. Her first meeting and her final meeting is with the executive she would be reporting to.

We're pretty sure she's a shoe-in because we already know he likes her. Her reflection was, "I like working for people who like me."

Who wouldn't? And that includes those who report to you.

With human beings, likeability can't be ignored

Several years ago I conducted a workshop where one of the roundtable discussions with managers included the question: is it more important to be respected or to be liked?

I'm sure I don't have to go through with you all the pros and cons of either perspective, but the upshot for me, having coached hundreds of managers, is this:

  1. Don't make a decision just because it would be the popular one and
  2. Don't implement a decision in an unthoughtful way just because "I don't need to be liked"

"I'm not doing this job to be liked"

I know so many managers who are stuck in this fierce standpoint. Everything in moderation, people. Many times a few simple tweaks in implementation or approach could at least prevent organization members from actively disliking you.

Trust me. You don't want that. You can say you don't need to be liked, but to be actively disliked sucks the life (read as "productivity" if you need to) out of your human resources.

I'm reminded of the book by Tim Sanders called, "The LikeAbility Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor & Achieve Your Life's Dreams." In short, here's what Tim says about this.

What it takes to be likeable

  • Friendliness
  • Relevance
  • Empathy
  • Realness

Check out Tim's book, and what each of these mean for you, in a sincere and well-intentioned way. And before you toss this off as mushball stuff, know this...

Likeability works

You don't have to compromise yourself. You don't have to be fake. And, let me point out, there is something in it for them and you, like...

  • Likeable people bring out the best in others
  • Likeable people get recognized
  • Likeable people outperform
  • Likeable people overcome life's challenges
  • Likeable people enjoy better health

So again, instead of working against human nature (like you've never heard that from me before), what if you looked at your own likeability? Is it working in your favor as a leader?

Originally posted at Mary's blog:

Photo credit: flickr user albany_tim / CC 2.0