Leadership is not a popularity contest but let’s face it, if I don’t like you, I’m simply not going to follow you.
Last week I heard someone talk about leadership and they raised something that I’ve heard before and it’s this, “As a leader, it’s not your job to be liked.” Hmmm….
I disagree. I actually believe that likeability is one of the most important traits of leadership. If I don’t like you, then quite simply I’m not going to commit to you. I’m not going to give you my best work.
I don’t know about you but I’ve had lots of leaders in my career and the more I’ve genuinely liked a leader, the harder I’ve worked for them.
Now, when I talk about being liked as a leader, I don’t mean that people need to agree with everything you say or be happy with every decision you make. Being liked also doesn’t mean that your team members want to hang out with you at the pub on a Friday night. Being liked means that they admire you, respect you and enjoy having you as their leader. Simple as that.
So as a leader, how do you become more likable?
BE REAL. Show your true authentic self. No one likes a fake. Be honest and open. Your people can’t like you if they don’t know you. Be vulnerable and share your personal story. People gravitate towards those who are genuine. Allow your people to relax around you and give them permission to be themselves.
BE HUMBLE. Use your leadership position to serve others. Make it less about you and more about them. Leave the ego at the door.
BE POSITIVE. Show optimism. Project confidence in the future of the organisation and in your team members and what they can achieve. Show them the way forward. Smile and people will start smiling back.
BE PRESENT. Stop the busyness. Make people feel valued. Put away your phone. Make the time for meaningful one to one conversations. Make people feel important and valued. Have a genuine desire to understand others. Be there for them.
If I like you as a leader, then I feel connected to you. If I connect with you, then I start to build trust with you. Once we have trust, then I’ll follow you and perform at my absolute best.
Leadership is not a popularity contest. You don’t have to be the coolest kid on the block but you do have to be LIKED!