I was interviewed yesterday for a feature article on ‘likeable bosses’ that will be published in an upcoming release of the Small Business Magazine.
Let me give you this quick summary of my thoughts on the topic of likeable bosses.
1. It just makes sense that the scientific evidence is overwhelming that employees are more likely to want to work for a likeable boss (well….duh!)
2. But it’s when you look deeper into the research and discover that being likeable is one thing, but being likeable and trustworthy opens up a much larger range of possibilities and potential.
3. There is a big difference between liking someone and trusting them.
4. I might like my boss, because she or he is a nice person… but they may lack the competence, confidence or courage to stand up for individuals or their team when things go wrong, or when opportunities ‘outside the norm’ present themselves and require affirmative positive persuasion to higher-level management.
Likeability Plus Trustworthiness – A Powerful Success Formula
Yesterday I met up with a colleague who I hadn’t seen in almost a decade. As a young 24 year old, Matthew joined a team of business development managers in a major financial institution that I was consulting with. The manager of that team, Charles, is a person who over many years now has become a friend of mine… and in my opinion and experience, Charles is most certainly (a) likeable and more importantly (b) trustworthy.
Once Charles took over the reins as Senior Manager of the team, over a period of about 7 years, the team generated record levels of sales from a work environment where others from inside and outside of the organisation were knocking on the doors to try and join them. At the same time, employee engagement within the team was exceptionally high, turnover was low, stress levels were low, productivity was high, and most if not all of the measures of success from a personal and business level were higher than any industry average.
In that team, at that time, I remember having a conversation with Charles about some of his ‘younger team members’ who I believed had real potential as future leaders in the industry. Matthew, (the person I met up with yesterday) was one of those. We chatted about that ‘golden era’, the friends he made, the powerfully creative work environment, and the journey that he and a number of the other younger team members who I had earmarked as future leaders had been on.
Not surprisingly, every one of those younger team members that I saw leadership potential in are now in CEO, General or Senior Management positions.
Some Questions and Challenges For You
One question I asked of Matthew however, really got him thinking. The question was, have you ever experienced, through the various job roles you’ve had since that time, a work environment like that? His answer was very quick… “No.”
My next question was a challenge. The question was, “What are you currently doing, or could you be doing to create that environment for your own team (he has 150 people in his team with a leadership group assisting him)?
More on his answer in another post… stay tuned. But for now, let me ask you this – have you ever worked in a team like that?
Let me conclude this post with a few questions for you. What are you doing (regardless of whether you’re a manager or not) to not only be ‘likeable’ (people want to work with people they like), but more importantly, but what are you doing to be trustworthy? What are your intentions for the people you impact in your job role? What do you want for them… not what do you want from them? What are the promises you’re explicitly or implicitly making that establish the expectations of the people you impact? How are your daily actions supporting and living up to your promises? Are the results you’re achieving personally, and contributing to as a part of the team, evidencing your accountability and responsibility for living up to your intentions and promises?
Trust takes work. You don’t get trust you earn it. Being likeable is one thing, but being likeable and trustworthy is a powerful formula for success in your personal and business life.