Over the past few months we’ve been writing about the profound payoffs of leader likability. Our research clearly shows that likability correlates directly with a leader’s effectiveness and the results he or she produces (see “Demanding Leaders Are Much More Effective – and More Likable” ).
So how can a leader increase his or her likability — and effectiveness? In his Forbes column on the topic Jack Zenger provides these seven steps from a study he and Joe Folkman did of 360 data from more than 51,000 leaders:
1. Increase positive emotional connections with others.
2. Display rock solid integrity.
3. Cooperate with others.
4. Be a coach, mentor, and teacher.
5. Be an inspiration.
6. Be visionary and future focused.
7. Ask for feedback and make an effort to change.
Read Jack’s column, “The Unlikable Leader: 7 Ways to Improve Employee/Boss Relationships,” for a brief description of each step.
In his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, researcher, Daniel Goleman, reports on similar results:
“…an analysis of the power of a leader to set a positive — or negative — emotional tone in an organization was undertaken within the U.S. Navy, where the standards for superior performance are cut-and-dried: Annual awards are given to the most efficient, safest, and most prepared squadrons. In an extensive comparison of superior and just-average commands, a striking difference in the emotional tone the commanding officers set was revealed. The very best commands, it turned out, were run not by Captain Ahab types who terrorized their crews, but by, well, nice guys.
The superior leaders managed to balance a people-oriented personal style with a decisive command role.”
Combining this research with a study just published this month in Harvard Business Review (see “Are the Most Effective Leaders Loved or Feared“) the cynical cliché “nice guys finish last” is wrong. Nice leaders — who also drive for results — finish first.