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It ain’t looks.  It ain’t education.  It’s not even superior knowledge or talent. Put simply, the most most important trait the successful people share is likability.  And it is simple (when we think about it).  In the long term, likable people win out over all others. They are more fun to work with, inspire loyalty amongst their peers and are “lighter to lift” within any team or organization.

Unlikeable people, often with zero intention, become irritating to others and harmful to their own career progression. If they are managers, they lose great staff. And the sad part is lack of self-awareness is largely to blame.

At a certain level in our careers, its evident that we have the skills, talent and capabilities to do our job. What stops a lot of people getting to the next level is how other people feel about us. When making hiring decisions and progression planning, managers and executives want the likable people on their team. Before we are professionals we are all human beings. It is natural to want to be surrounded by positive people. If there are two people capable of doing a job, selling a product or service (or even sitting next to us) the likable person will win every time.

Tweet! Tweet!: “Smarts in the workplace are good but they are even better with a side of kindness.” via @susiemoore

Here are 7 reasons successful people get ahead through likeability:

1. No (or minimal) ego. Who likes an ego? No one.

2. Likable people elevate others. They praise, share credit and enjoy other people’s successes. Funnily enough, this quality elevates them the most. It’s testament to the lovely old truth that we keep what we give away.

3. They make us feel relaxed. Less-likable people create stress, tension and can even make people defensive and on edge. Those emotions are not enjoyable.

4. “All else being equal, people do business with people they like,” Jeffrey Gitomer, The Little Red Book of Selling. This does not just stop with sales people. It applies to all relationships – internally and even socially.

5. Negativity repels. This is simple and yet so often misunderstood. A negative attitude, even if it is not directed at us, makes us want to avoid the person generating it. Positivity on the other hand is very attractive.

6. More so than ever, employers are focused on creating supportive company cultures and understand how much it contributes to an organization’s success. Well-liked people supply a lot of value to a professional culture.

7. Likable people are often inclusive and are therefore always included. They do not operate out of fear in the workplace but out of generosity. As a result, likable people are often consulted for their point of view and hold clout when decisions are being made.

Shawn Achor in The Happiness Advantage explains it best: “Success orbits around happiness, not the other way around.”

I love hearing your feedback. What have your observations been of likable or successful people in the work place? Leave me a comment below!


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