Want to get ahead at work? Practice likeability tips!
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Could being more likeable be the key to success in your working life?

by Freya Lucas

April 16, 2024

Likeable people – those to whom you feel connected to, and warm about – are more likely to get ahead in the workplace. They naturally draw people to them, and are typically well liked by their peers. 


It’s possible that being likeable, or becoming more likeable, could help those in early childhood education and care (ECEC) and other sectors to get further ahead in their careers. 


Writing for Fast Company, Gwen Moran has shared six tips on becoming more likeable, drawing on expertise from Jenny Woo, founder and CEO of Mind Brain Emotion and creator of 52 Essential Relationship Skills, an emotional intelligence training game and others. 


An extract of her work appears below. To access the original coverage of this story please see here.


“It does have a payoff, and it matters,” Ms Woo says, noting that being likable “helps you connect with others.”


Those who connect well with others can, in turn, communicate better and connect with people who are different from themselves, both of which can help them be more effective in the workplace.


“But there’s a fine line between working on your likability and ease of connection versus people-pleasing, which can be detrimental, ” she adds. And it might not be surprising that likable people have some habits and traits that help them connect,” she added.


Being present


“The most likable people are not thinking about their likability,” social interaction expert and author Patrick King said. 


Instead of being worried about being likeable, such people are instead “present and just focused on the conversation, listening, and being curious about their conversation partner.” In other words, they are focused on creating a connection rather than their own impression or image management.


Sharing credit


Ms Woo typically sees likeability spike when people give ‘credit where credit is due.’ 


“It’s about sharing the spotlight,” she says. In an ECEC context, this could look like acknowledging where the inspiration for a playscape came from, recommending an article or blog post to a coworker, or acknowledging the work done by an assistant or trainee in solving a problem. 




Being who you truly are can enhance your likeability, executive coach J. Victor McGuire said. 


Authentic people are more likeable and trustworthy, and are also often viewed as being more reliable. Typically coworkers are drawn to those individuals who are genuine and transparent. 


Empathetic and caring 


Likeable people are typically both caring and empathetic, tuning in to the responses of others, showing others that they care, and are kind. 


Being likeable and compassionate helps to build strong and trusting relationships with others. 


Active listening 


Listening and active listening are two entirely different subsets. Many people listen only for an opportunity to reply. Active listening includes not interrupting, asking at least one question for every three times you put your own ideas forward, and listening to understand, not to reply. 


Communicate well 


Even if the news isn’t good, people respect someone who tells the truth and is straightforward, according to a 2023 study which also revealed that ambiguity can hurt a person’s likability, as it may be perceived as a way to ‘dodge the truth.’ 


The study found that when people are ambiguous with their language, even when it’s to “soften the blow,” others make personality judgments about them, finding them less warm, less extraverted, and more cautious.


Genuine likeability 


When considering the points above, Ms Woos said, it’s important to be aware of bias, whether that’s in relation to gender, culture, heritage, physical appearance, race and other factors. 


“Some people feel like they need to “code switch” or hide or change some aspect of themselves to fit in or not seem threatening,” she explained, and this can take its toll. 


As much as likeability is important, Woo encourages employees to self reflect when they find themselves disliking someone they work with. 


While there can be legitimate reasons to dislike someone, the issue may also be rooted in a mismatch of communication styles, or other issues that can be overcome once awareness is raised. 


Read the original coverage of this story here

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