5 Important Reasons Leaders Need to Be Likable

Feb 18, 2022 | Blog

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Cult of Personality

5 Important Reasons Leaders Need to Be Likable


One of the biggest mistakes new leaders make is trying to lead from too far away. In other words, they distance themselves from their employees by not sharing anything personal. I understand why this happens, but it’s the wrong approach. We’re not robots, and you don’t get good work done as a bully boss. As a leader, it’s important to show a little of who you are. You don’t necessarily want to become each employee’s best friend, but don’t cut off your personal self from your professional self. Infuse a bit of yourself into your work.

Here are 5 reasons it’s important to be personable in the office:

1. Relatability

When your team finds relatable moments with you, it makes you more human. It’s much more rewarding (and fun) working with someone you can relate to, rather than a talking head who issues commands. Plus, I prefer to be respected for me, not my title.

2. Likability

People follow and do things for people they like and relate to. I talk a lot with my team about video games because that’s where our interests overlap. Business doesn’t always have to be about business. Talk about other interests you share.

3. You can use analogies across concepts

One of my teams has a shorthand for a no-win scenario. We call it a Kobayashi Maru because of a Star Trek reference. The same works for any shared interest. If you’re into football, you can talk about moving the goalposts or pulling a Hail Mary and everyone will be on the same page and having more fun. As a side note: try not to go too far with this where it alienates those who don’t have the shared interest.

4. It helps when someone is having a bad day

When you’re having a 1-on-1 meeting, it’s okay to chat about personal likes and hobbies: fishing, camping, wizardry in the woods – you name it. Knowing personal things about your employees helps you connect with them when they’re struggling.

5. Retention

People don’t leave jobs, they leave bad bosses. The opposite is also true. People tend to stick around because of people they like. Keep your team by keeping them close.

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