Likability (without the “e” is the American spelling) is essential in the workplace. Likability has gained in importance because of the impact of social media and our lack of regular meaningful interactions. Because of limited interactions in person, likability becomes more critical. UCLA did a study on likability and found some key drivers were sincerity, transparency and emotional intelligence (the ability to understand another person).
Additional studies have found that “likable people” outperform unlikable people. The simple reason is that people will work harder with people they like and enjoy. For a long time, soft skills have been under-appreciated in the workplace, but there is now growing evidence that being likable is a major game-changer for successful people. Here are eight key traits that are “unlikable”:
- Bragging – Nobody likes a braggart. Bragging is ego-centric and draws attention to one’s accomplishments. Humble bragging: when a person masks bragging by acting in a self-deprecating manner, but he/she is still attracting attention. Humble bragging is just as bad as bragging. It’s bragging and transparent; people can see through it.
- Serious – When a person is too serious and is solely focused on outcomes and misses times to socialize, relax, and have moments of fun, he/she shows unlikable traits. There are times to be serious and there are times to laugh.
- Not asking questions – Likable people ask lots of questions when they talk to people. They are genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. Unlikable people are only interested in saying what they want to get across, and they miss out on a good conversation.
- Emotional outbursts – Emotional outbursts show instability, unapproachability, and intimidation. Unlikable people have emotional outbursts, and no one wants to be around them or work with them.
- Getting on your phone – There is no stronger message you can send than to say “you are not important” when, in the middle of a conversation, you turn to your phone and start looking at missed messages or phone calls. This unlikeable trait is sending the message that you don’t care, and you are not engaged in the conversation.
- Name dropping – Having connections and knowing people is important and can pay huge dividends when trying to get things done, but dropping people’s name is pretentious and can make a person look silly. It also limits a person’s credibility because it appears the only value you may have is tied to someone else.
- Gossip – Unlikable people gossip and talk about other people’s misdeeds or missteps. Being a gossip makes a person look mean-spirited and negative and creates mistrust in the work environment. If a person is willing to gossip about someone else, don’t you wonder what he/she is saying about you when you are not present?
- Closed-minded – If you are not open to new ideas, thoughts, or conversations, you will be perceived as unlikable. Who wants to talk to a person who is obstinate and opinionated on everything? A closed-minded person is judgmental and not pleasant to be around.
Are you likable? Do you find yourself holding some of these characteristics? Remember, being likable is vital in today’s workplace.