Likeable leaders have these traits

Very recently, I wrote an article discussing 6 daily habits to boost your self-confidence.  If you have ever worked for a boss who was petty, self-serving, micromanaging, unfairly critical, or otherwise a nightmare, you know how much that can sap your confidence and joy. Unlikeable as opposed to likeable leaders may inspire compliance, but they don’t inspire much else. They receive obedience from the people who work with them until those people are able to move as far away from them as possible.

Then, there are the bosses who make coming to work enjoyable, who inspires loyalty, and who maintain good relationships with their team members both current and past. These are the leaders who don’t have to bark orders or make demands. Instead, they create a culture where the people who work for them genuinely want to do what is best for the organization. You might think that likeable leaders are super generous with bonuses, or that they don’t set strict rules or standards.

Nothing could be further than the truth. A good leader can manage to be likeable while also being a demanding boss. Accomplishing this is a matter of developing 6 important habits.

1. They Are Truly Approachable

“If you have any problems, come see me”, “my door is always open”, “I want honest feedback from my employees”, these are all phrases that most employees have probably heard from their managers. In fact, the “I am an approachable boss” speech is usually given on an employee’s first day of work. Sadly, few bosses do anything to indicate that they actually stand by these sentiments.

Instead, their actions show that they only have time for the people they report to, and perhaps a thin layer of managers/supervisors below them. The end result is that team members soon realize that it is all lip service. Likeable leaders don’t just claim to be approachable they show it by doing the following:

    • Discuss concerns rather than regurgitating policy
    • They make themselves physically available
    • They follow up respectfully and in detail even when they disagree with the team member

2. They Tailor Their Communication

Every single day, leaders must praise, correct, instruct, and solicit feedback. In order to do this in a way that is effective, good leaders take the time to understand who they are communicating with. Then, they write or speak in ways that they will be heard, not in ways that allow them to vent, or self-indulgently match wits or seem clever.

3. They Encourage Personal and Professional Development

A former employer of mine gifted her employees with 4 hours each week of personal and professional development time. We were allowed to spend that time accessing the company library, taking online classes, or even going off-campus to take a class. She set very few guidelines, just that what we pursued must be academic. Also that it might help us in our current positions or a position we would like to hold in the future.

Then, she took the time to know what each of us was working on and to ask us about our progress regularly. If you want to provide your employees with encouragement as they further their educations, have them read about seven ways you can develop good study habits.

4. They Are Positive

People want leaders who are honest and realistic. However, they are also attracted to leaders who are upbeat and positive.

Leaders who demonstrate an ability to look on the brighter side of things, and who show resilience after a failure are able to keep their teams upbeat and motivated as well. When a good leader does have something to complain about, they don’t vent to their team members.

5. They Seek Consensus Not Victory

A few years ago, I worked with a marketing team leader who was absolutely brilliant. His projects were always a success. The problem was that nobody wanted to work with him twice.

I was asked to join the team as assistant team leader on a project to see what the issue was. It didn’t take long to figure it out. Anytime somebody disagreed with him on any issue, he would use his brains and his razor-sharp wit to verbally rip them to shreds and embarrass them in front of everybody else. Sure, he couched his words in humour, but his targets still felt humiliated.

Even the team members who didn’t face his sharp tongue wanted to avoid working for him in the future. This is a shame because if he had focused on building consensus rather than winning some sort of battle of wits against anybody who disagreed with him, people would have been begging to work with him.

6. They do Things to Make Other People Feel Good

Likeable leaders have the ability to make their team members feel good. They provide detailed and meaningful compliments. Additionally, they express sincere concern if somebody is going through a difficult time.

They exude warmth, compassion, and a sincere desire to see the people working for them do well. What makes them likeable isn’t just that they say and do the right things, it is that they are sincere when they do it. That takes a genuine sense of kindness and the ability to be comfortable in one’s own skin.

Julie Ellis – writer, marketer and passionate traveler.
When she’s not engaged in helping her customers and students, you can find her reading articles and books of young writers and attending marketing conferences.
Follow Julie’s Twitter to find more about academic and business writing skills.