If People Like You, They'll Follow You

"We will work harder and more effectively for people we like. And we will like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel." – From A Leader’s Legacy by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

I’ve been thinking about likability a lot recently. It’s huge. Being likable is not the same thing as being smart, extroverted, or funny.

The "liking principle" is part of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion and for good reason. When people like you, it’s easier to influence them.

I’ve thought about how I can become more likable at a tactical level. One theory I have is we don’t like people who intimidate us. Because of my physical stature and occasional tendency to use academic (read: pretentious) prose, and because of my eclectic interests and activities, I’m sometimes said to be intimidating. To combat this I have recently begun to use more informal language in my everyday talk and have kept an "open posture" (open palms, feet pointed out, and shoulders slightly curved in). At the end of the day, I’m me — deal with it! — but I don’t think it hurts to think about the components for successful leadership.

The thought that it’s better to be feared than to be loved, I think, is bullshit.

How do you think about likability?

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