Sure, the best leaders sometimes have to make decisions that are unpopular, but we all crave respect and support from the staff that make our companies work. Being a likable leader isn’t about currying favor or tiptoeing around the people you employ. In fact, being likeable means being the best leader you can be. Employing these strategies will not only help you gain big-picture abilities that will benefit your business, but you will also gain the loyalty of your employees.
Qualities of Leaders Who are Likeable
1. Be Honest
First and foremost, we don’t like people we don’t trust. Even if you have to couch comments in diplomatic ways, you’re always better off telling the truth about your expectations, your view of the future, and where your employees stand. Honesty begets honesty, and your company will benefit from mutual trust.
2. Be Positive
While I’m not counseling entrepreneurs to see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I do advocate staying focused on the goals you want your company to achieve. Being goal-oriented and forward-looking means that you’re invested in being a great leader today.
3. Be Humble
No man (or woman) is an island, and leaders who insist on taking all the glory for their successes end up with resentful, lackluster staff. Take every opportunity to shower deserving employees with public praise, and you’ll be rewarded with loyalty and continued support.
4. Empower Your Staff
Employees who don’t feel empowered to make decisions don’t feel responsibility when things go wrong. If you want staff who treats your company like it’s their own, then you must give them authority and support for appropriate decision making. You may have to accept some mistakes along the way, but invested, proud, responsible employees are worth it.
5. Be Approachable
Every member of my staff knows I have an “open door with a caveat” policy. I am always available to my staff. I’m always happy to listen, to advise, and to mentor, but I am not the company’s chief problem solver. Unless you want to spend all day putting out fires, you must train your staff to solve problem for themselves. Don’t just give you staff a fish; teach them to fish for themselves.
6. Ask Questions
It’s far too easy to settle into the mindset that information flows primarily from you to your employees. Not only will that mindset rob you of valuable perspectives, but it will also result in leaders who know little about their staff. Take the time to find out what matters to your employees. Learn about their concerns, their stresses, their families. The key here is to find ways to emphasize the connection between your company goals and your employees’ goals. Make success a win-win for every member of your staff.
7. Learn Your Staffs’ Names
Yes, of course this one should go without saying, but I’m always stunned when I discover how many business owners fail to learn and use their employees first and last names. Nothing signals contempt for people like the failure to learn the most basic piece of information about them. Don’t use a lame excuse about being “bad with names.” Learn your staff’s names. Period.
Leadership isn’t simply a role. It’s a mindset. Owning a company doesn’t necessarily make you an inspiring, likeable boss. That takes work, but it’s work that will pay big dividends – in productivity and in loyalty.
Source: Small Biz Trends