Being Effective and Loved at the Same Time

Leadership and Social Skills

You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.  Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.

Dale Carnegie

Two renowned leadership scholars, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, offer the following research conclusion:

Researchers looked at a number of factors that could account for a manager’s success.

They found only one factor significantly differentiated the top managers from the bottom managers: high scores on affection – both expressed and wanted.

The highest performing managers show more warmth and fondness toward others than do the bottom 25 percent.  They get closer to people, and they are significantly more open to sharing thoughts and feelings than their low performing counter-parts.

All things being equal, we will work harder and more effectively for people we like.  And we like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel!

James  Kouzes & Barry Posner,  Encouraging the Heart:  A Leaders Guide to Recognising and Rewarding Others,  2003

How to be liked and effective:  it’s a leadership thing!

Scientific research now has evidence that practising kindness is not only good for the recipient but also good for the giver.  Being kind, even when it’s unpleasant, being generous and willing to share especially when you expect nothing in return, genuinely makes people happy.

Happiness = Engagement = Success

Just do two of these (all five if you really get the picture) and see the difference:

  • Show people that you value them
  • Pursue mutual understanding and information sharing
  • Be upfront and straightforward, avoiding games and office politics
  • Approach conflict constructively, staying aware of others’ feelings
  • Bring disagreements into the open and help de-escalate them

Skeptical?  

Try the Kindness Challenge:

Give yourself a goal of performing Five Acts of Kindness on any single day, once a week.

Aim for actions that really make a difference and come at some cost to you.  Be both creative and thoughtful.

Take stock at the end of the day.  Notice the good feelings that come with your increasing kindness:  the positive connection to the person you helped; the sense of pride you get from making a contribution.

Try it for a few months and see the difference it makes.