Are Likable Leaders Really Effective Leaders?

“If you want people to relate to you as an effective leader, focus on respect and likability.” Jeannette Seibly

When a leader’s primary need is to be likable, it’s a fool’s game. If this is your focus, you will make poor decisions, focus on yourself (aka ego), and accept mediocrity while failing to provide much-needed feedback to your team!

Over 90% of employees complain that communication issues make their leaders ineffective. ( These leaders focus on being likable and are unable (and unwilling) to provide truthful feedback, acknowledge others’ efforts and ideas, and even fail to learn their employees’ names.

In other words, they are ineffective leaders.

So, what is missing? Respect!

To be an effective leader today, focus on developing both: being likable and respected! Being both requires YOU to focus on others while improving team development, customer satisfaction, performance, productivity, and profitability.

Common Ways to Boost Being Likable and Respected

Develop Your Emotional Intelligence. Be present and aware, and use mindful resilience to guide you in developing your teams and team members. Remember, as a leader, your focus is on having them excel.

Ask these questions:

  • What do they need? Ask, listen, and make it happen!
  • What are their professional and personal goals? Ask, listen, and offer them opportunities!
  • How can I acknowledge their successes? Look for ways to say, “Great work!”

Share Feedback by Talking Straight or Soften Your Approach. It’s best to tell the truth appropriately. While some welcome the straight-talk approach, some team members may be uncomfortable or intimated. Example: “Is that report done yet?” In these cases, soften your approach. Keep it short and simple. Example: “I have an early morning meeting and would like to review the report before my meeting. Is it possible to get it this afternoon?”

Ask for Input and Build Results. When you come across as a know-it-all, team members stop participating. It shows blatant disrespect! Instead of talking over them or ignoring their ideas, ask questions to learn more. Then, use their input to build better outcomes and results. (Don’t forget to say, “Thank you for your great ideas!”)

Give Assignments Based on People’s Strengths. Use a qualified job fit assessment to help you effectively manage and coach your team. Remember, assigning the “bad jobs” to people you don’t like, or the “fun or good jobs” to your favorites will cause dissension and possible litigation (e.g., EEO lawsuits). Also, you can use this same assessment to build a diverse team and train team members to appreciate everyone’s differences.

Seek Ways to Develop Each and Every Team Member. Use 1:1 meetings to ask about their goals and offer opportunities to develop required skills. Example: If someone wants to become a manager of a big project, offer to hire a coach NOW for the person to develop the right presentation, people management, and project management skills.

Make the Right Decisions and Share “Why” with the Team. Making win-win-win decisions is crucial—sharing “why” with your team builds trust. To avoid trial and error and common miscommunication, hire yourself an executive coach. You will broaden your perspective before, during, and after decisions are made (your decisions create an impact: good, bad, and not-so-good). Also, find one or two industry mentors to guide you along the way. Now, ask for help, listen, and be coachable!

©Jeannette Seibly 2022 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has guided the creation of three millionaires and countless 6-figure income professionals. During the past 29 years, she has become an award-winning international executive and family business management consultant and keynote speaker. Still unable to achieve the results you need to keep your customers, team, or job? Don’t wait! It won’t get better without help! Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note from Jeannette about being a likable and respected effective leader: Can you be both likable and respected? Yes! Both are required to be highly effective in today’s workplace. What do you need to develop for your team to like and respect you? Are you feeling challenged in this area? Contact me for a confidential conversation.

I’ve been interviewing people for jobs for well over 30 years. Although the economy and types of jobs have changed dramatically, many hiring practices have not. You will miss out if you have not upgraded your interview and selection processes to attract top talent. To improve your interviewing techniques, grab your FREE copy of 16 Tips to Conduct Effective and Productive Hiring Interviews Today.

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