• Marisa Sarfatti

Do we need to be likable

"Steve Jobs behaved like a tyrant and didn’t care if he was liked or not! Look at how Trump behaves – he says and does the most offensive things and people in America are going to reelect him. Why should I even care what others think of me or how they perceive me?! I’m here to do my job and show results! Why must I spend so much energy understanding others and being empathetic to their needs, it’s exhausting?! (mutter - they’re not even my clients!)”.


Above are statements from some of the companies I’ve worked with over the past 18 years. I've heard it all the way from the CEO to the front-line employee, and from all positions in an organization. The reality about people like Trump, Zuckerberg, Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg is that they are 0.02% of the population. They are the extreme outliers.


Most of us do not own a company; we work within the confines of one. We may not be one of those who have ‘unicorn’ ideas which revolutionize a business, but we are refining, innovating, and improving in the roles we have. Even if we do happen to own a company, we still rely on outside factors such as internal human capital and must make a choice as to how we build our brand. In all actuality, everyone is accountable for their behavior at some point. An example is how Steve Jobs got fired from the company he started by the company’s board of directors.


When we’re standing up for our ideas, principles or intentionally creating ‘radical’ impressions, then we can take a page from the book of inspiring leaders. That means to stand up and stand apart. BUT in our day to day it is probably wiser to be more Diplomat than Darth Vadar. When you build relationship capital and put in the effort to behave so that people enjoy working with you it will give you higher ROI and help get things done. We’ll call it the Likability Factor.


These are the 4 actions which I regularly suggest clients use for successful outcomes:


Dump the “My Way or the Highway” mindset: Include & Adapt


Most people are invested in what they are currently working on. It is important to define our roles and be clear, but it also makes us territorial. Reality Check: Most of us are part of the bigger picture, and part of an ecosystem where we need other people and partners to deliver results. No one can see things 360 degrees, so doing things our exact way is not the only way to drive results. Be open to others working with you and consider adapting their ideas to your project. Challenge yourself to find aspects which are negotiable. Don’t ghost or become defensive when others offer you suggestions or inputs. Lose the perception that people are interfering, getting in your way, or stupid… it will also help to let go of your ego.


3 Minutes More: Give Context


Today’s work environment is all about the speed in which you reach your goal. When we’re working with people who are used to us, shorthand is often a reliable form of communication. We overlook that people who don’t work with us daily need to understand things in context. If you are a direct communicator who expresses themselves in a brief style take a minute to give context when presenting thoughts or instructions. Remember to make sure the other party understands what you’re looking to accomplish by asking them questions.


Pick up the Phone: Email is for confirmation NOT conversation!


Pick up the phone 1 out of 5 times as opposed to shooting off an email. Email communication can be misinterpreted. I see this happen with countless clients; when we analyze where breakdowns happen, we find that they've used emails as an avoidance of leaning into what they need to express. We can count wins when it comes to productivity and speed, but what people need is to call or see us in person directly to resolve these challenges. Additionally, just hearing someone’s voice, urgency or seeing their smile can build up a more effective response and generate good feelings all around. Email them after to confirm the main points of your conversation.


Facetime: Be Visible, not Invisible


People overlook the power of reading an expression, having someone see your smile and your intention. So many of my leaders and remote teams forget to use this tool. Schedule some face to-face conference calls

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