What’s just as important as skills, training, expertise and experience? Likability. Try it!
You might think that all you need for career success is to be amazing at what you do.
And, yes, that is important.
But it’s also important to be likable. Sounds a bit trivial, doesn’t it? Yet likability is key to success at any job (also at life, but that’s a different topic).
Perhaps you feel traits such as likability are beyond your control, like being tall or having brown eyes. We are who we are, right?
However, personalities are not givens. We have control over how we come across. It may require breaking old habits and learning new ones, but it can be really worth it.
Here are some key behaviors that likable people practice and that you can, too.
Likable people pay attention. Likable people are secure and self-confident enough to turn the spotlight away from themselves. They listen, non-judgmentally. They remember people’s names (and are honest about it when they don’t). They try to see where others are coming from, and search for areas of common ground with people who differ from themselves.
Likable people laugh easily. Likable people, while they can be very passionate about their work, know how to balance this passion with humor and self-deprecation. They are slow to condemn, quick to praise, give out (true) compliments freely, and never gossip (unless it is positive gossip!). They sincerely strive to be a force for good in the world. We don’t have enough of this in our society. Let it start with you.
Likable people are consistent. Nothing is more off-putting than the boss or co-worker who is cheerful one day, morose the next. People never know what to expect. This is not to say you are not allowed to have emotions. You are. Just watch how you display those emotions, and don’t let them rule your behavior. Rule them instead.
Likable people don’t fear looking weak. The willingness to learn something new, admit a mistake, ask for help and advice, or change your mind is a hallmark of intelligence and maturity, not a sign of weakness. All of these behaviors make people warm to you, trust you — and like you.
Give these a try. Striving to be likable to others may result in liking yourself a lot more too.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use and of the novel “The Paris Effect.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.