The Importance of Being Likable

Besides being your career mentor, I’m on the editorial board of a print magazine called PM 360.  It’s devoted to brand managers in the pharmaceuticals and medical device industries.  Here’s a recent article I wrote for them…

A couple of years ago, Ben Affleck won the Academy Award for Best Picture for his movie, Argo. Ben is known as a likable guy, so when he turned from acting and took up directing, people were willing to help him. That’s how Argo got made.

About the time the movie came out, an article in Time magazine discussed the importance of likability in the film industry:

“The film industry, like most other businesses, is a small group of people who all know one another and everyone tries to work with the likable person. Likable people’s bosses let them do the things they don’t let other people do. When likable people stumble, others help them. Likable people call this kindness. Unlikable people call it office politics.”

This is great career advice—likability is important. Tweet 137 in my career success book, Success Tweets, offers advice on likeability. It says, “Do your job; give credit to others for doing theirs. Everyone likes to work with people who share the credit for a job well done.”

Seven tips for becoming likable at work are the starting point for effective work relationships. Follow them and you’ll become a likable person, a better brand manager—and you’ll climb the corporate ladder faster.

1. Suggest solutions to the problems you identify. Identifying problems is easy. Likable people provide thoughtful solutions to the problems and challenges they raise, which earns respect and admiration from everyone around them.

2. Don’t ever play the blame game. When you publicly blame others, you create enemies who will help you fail. Likable people create allies by taking their share of the blame when things go wrong.

3. Respect the people around you. Talking down to others, using sarcasm or taking a nasty tone disrespects other people. It’s never appropriate to engage in this type of behavior.

4. Never blindside people. Likable people keep their colleagues in the loop and discuss problems with them first. They don’t ambush others.

5. Always keep your commitments and deadline. When you don’t, it negatively affects the work of other people. If you can’t keep a commitment, make sure the affected people know as soon as you can. Give them a new due date and then honor the new deadline.

6. Share credit for accomplishments, ideas and contributions. It’s very rare that you can accomplish anything with no help from others. Likable people thank and recognize the people who help them succeed.

7. Help people find their greatness by assisting them to harness their best abilities and you will become known as a likeable person. Compliment, recognize, praise and notice contributions.

If you follow these seven tips—especially number six—you will become a likable person. You’ll develop effective work relationships. Colleagues and bosses will value you. You’ll accomplish your work goals, have some fun, get recognized as a team player and move up quicker.

Your career mentor,



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