What Makes Us Likable and Why It's So Crucial
By Sandy Schroeder
Likability is often assumed to be linked to glamor, talent or sociability, but in reality it’s really all about emotional intelligence, relying on qualities like transparency, sincerity, and the ability to understand and care about people.
Likability is also a lot more powerful than we might suspect. It can completely alter performance, according to Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, the agency that services 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. TalentSmart research shows people who are highly likable outperform others by a large margin.
Bradberry suggests avoiding key behaviors that trip people up.
Failing to be trustworthy - We have all had “friends” who told us what we wanted to hear, but later proved to be unreliable when it came to backing us up, or sharing confidences. Friends like that are often reclassified as acquaintances to be watched. If they are co-workers we soon learn to keep an eye on them.
Always valuing projects over people – All of us recognize the need for passion for our work, but the people who make the most progress on the job also know how to see the human side and interact with those around them while they get the work done.
Doing subtle boasting – Most of us know someone who manages to brag about their expertise, fitness or other achievements using the fine art of self-depreciation. As they self-criticize, they are really letting you know how smart or fit they are. These people usually lose their audience quickly.
Forgetting to listen – In a busy world, it can be too easy to focus on what you have to say, and failing to hear the other person. Learn to be a real listener. Watch the other person and ask questions. Then listen to the answer. Real interaction is becoming more and more rare. Don’t be caught faking it.
Losing it with outbursts – Crossing the line with rude name-calling, personal attacks, screaming or throwing things automatically puts you in a different category of emotional intelligence, as people wonder if you can keep it together to be reliable and trustworthy.
Putting your phone first – Some people make their phone the third-party in conversations, lunch and meetings. Giving all of your attention to face-to-face interactions really can create valuable relationships with new understanding.
Think about the people that you find most likable, then watch what they do, how they treat people, how they interact. Following their lead could be a smart move.
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