Being likable. Is it mandatory?

As a leader, ask yourself: why getting support from others is so important, even for an emperor?  Here you go. At company level, chairman depends on MD or ED, who in turn depends on VPs, GMs, Managers, supervisors, technicians to carry out his instructions. Everyone’s success depends on their subordinates. If supervisor doesn’t follow his manager’s instruction, company will fire manager, not the supervisor.

Same is the case in the sports, acting or, even in the coaching.  As per a famous quote by *Dr Wahler , a leadership excellence coach  , ‘Your likability quotient matters. It matters more than you realize’.  Indian cricket team won 2011 cricket world cup. MS Dhoni and Gary Kirsten were the captain and the coach of that team, respectively. They were excellent managers. Importantly, they were likable and lovable among the team members. All players followed their instructions on and off field and rest is the history. In an ** Harris poll, ‘91 percent of employees complained about communication issues, that prevented their bosses from being effective leaders’. Being less likable (thus an ineffective communicator) hampers your scope to be a good leader.

This concept is far more open minded, that is why it is an instant hit. Else, ask your parents and grand-parents about history of dictators. Even in early and mid-20th century – a person with unquestioned, ruthless military authority ruled the world with force. People had 2 options: either follow him or put your life at risk by your protest. However, concepts have changed drastically in last 40-50 years.

In today’s age of Face book, Twitter and WhatsApp – people supports you, as if you are God. They follow you, likes you. Or they don’t care for you at all.

Now, everyone including you and I want success. Ask yourself, ‘How can I influence people’s thinking? How can I make them to think my way and to support me? What is that MUST DO LIST for me, to get other person’s whole hearted efforts?’

Do you really want to get people’s support? Make right perception about people. See them at their best. Think extremely confident and positive about it. Make a habit to see big and bright picture, when you imagine people. This shows you, how by thinking rightly for a person actually helps you to win him, his support.

Take the classical yet simple case of Asia’s leading manufacturing company. (You can imagine any country, any continent!) A committee has just started discussion on appointment of a new plant head. Name after name is placed before the group. The MD asks, ‘What is your opinion about Mr. X?’

Exchange of reviews and comments start. Some draw positive comments like, ‘He is a gem of a person. It is a delight to witness how he leads his team.’

‘Mr. NC? He is a go getter and kind hearted fellow. I believe he will make a good leader.’ For some names – there are lukewarm, negative comments. ‘Mr. KT? Not at all.’ ‘Get feedback about him from market, before you forward his name for a higher position.’ ‘I appreciate his technical skills, but he is not good in people handling.’

‘His aggressive style is good for short term. How can you expect him to get people’s acceptance for longer time?’

Such type of scene and discussion are quite common for promotion, new job, an honor, for consideration of new MD, new VP, and new leader. Now, as an observant reader – here is a very important message.  IN NEARLY 100 PERCENT CASES, THE ‘GENERANAL ACCEPTABILITY (GA)’ OR ‘LIKEABLILITY’ FACTOR IS OF THE PERAMOUNT IMPORTANCE. And as the rule of thumb, GA factor is given more weight age than any super technical, managerial or other skills.

Need more proof? Go back to your school days. You saw some teachers promoted from secondary section to higher secondary section. Some even became vice-principal or principal. How? Their education? Qualification? May or may not be. But, their way of handling students, colleagues, situations? Certainly yes. This is the major reason, with higher percentage.

Sounds unrealistic, impractical? But, this is the most scientific and yet human way to appoint someone. If appointed person is not acceptable to students and faculty members; you cannot expect him to do well in his work.

Understand this point very well. This is not the era of kings and emperors, where you get certain higher position on a silver plate. Rather, you have to earn it. In today’s competitive edge, everyone wants to go ahead. Nobody has time to give you unconditional, painful support. You have to earn it with your better approach and better acceptability.

*Ref : https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-being-likeable-as-a-leader-matters_us_5787c339e4b0e7c8734f9692

**Ref : https://www.jodymichael.com/blog/increasing-your-likeability-as-a-leader/