Likability is one on the best abilities of any CEO. Likability does not mean that you have to always be a push over or easy to get along with. Some of the best CEOs that produced the best results were hard driving, passionate and dedicated CEOs. But almost in every case those same CEOs were also the most likable because people respected the high standard that they set for themselves and their organizations.
Leadership expert John Maxwell stated it this way, “You know you truly value yourself when each day you silently affirm that you are the type of person with whom you would like to spend the rest of your life.”
John’s statement is truly a powerful way to live and lead. Leaders’ and CEOs’ need to become the kind of person that they would like themselves. In other words they need to become likable CEOs.
The Five Factors to be a More Likable CEO.
Likability starts with a decision to become likable. Over the years I have had the privilege of working with many CEOs’ and executives. Some were likable and others were not. However, with CEO it always started with a decision. The CEOs that were the most fulfilled were the ones who genuinely wanted to be liked by others.
1. Know You Concrete Guideposts.
For others to like us, they must know us. In order for them to know us, we must know ourselves. Every CEO has concrete guideposts that will shape their thinking and their decisions. These are the foundational principles that are they keys to who we are and the person that we desire to be. When we communicate these guideposts others are attracted to our leadership and our core values.
Coaching Question: What are the concrete guideposts that guide your decisions in leadership and life?
2. Be Curious about Other People.
The famous Dale Carnegie stated that we should be “genuinely interested in other people.” This was one of the foundational principles of how to win friends and influence people. Every CEO should make it a priority to be curious about their team and the people that they meet. Every person can teach us something. When we are curious about others and seek to learn what they can teach us, it often leads to them liking us.
Coaching Question: How curious are you about others? What is one question that you might interested to learn about any person that you meet?
3. Grow Yourself and Your Outlook.
Personal growth and development are keys to becoming likable. People are attracted to growing people. Growing CEOs have a different outlook on life and life experiences. They continue to stay fresh and up to date on the newest thinking that is hitting the marketplace. People like to learn from leaders’ who are growing themselves.
Coaching Question: What growth experience have you participated in during the last six months?
4. Be Diligent about Acts of Thoughtfulness.
Many times likability happens after thoughtfulness. You won’t read about thoughtfulness in many business books, but thoughtfulness is a key element to good business and to developing a likable personality. Thoughtful acts of kindness such as writing notes, giving acknowledgement to great work, or speaking affirming words can go along way into developing a likable spirit.
Coaching Question: How diligent have you been at completing acts of thoughtfulness?
5. See the best in others.
People like to be around people who look for the best. There is old statement that says, “When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” One complaint that many leaders’ and CEOs’ receive from their key staff is that they only focus on the negative or what needs to be improved. Although it is important to focus on improvement, it is also equally important to see and to call out the best in others.
The five factors of likability. Here is an essential truth. You will never become the best leader that you can be until you become a likable leader. Remember the words of John Maxwell when he reminded us of the goal of life. He said, “You know you truly value yourself when each day you silently affirm that you are the type of person with whom you would like to spend the rest of your life.”