Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Likable Bosses

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Likable Bosses

Survey suggests bosses not as likable as they think they are

A recent survey by 51job.com in China found that almost 60% of employees identified their supervisors as "order-issuing lovers" and another 18% referred to their bosses as "critics". In contrast, more than 82% of leaders considered themselves good leaders and friendly to their subordinates.

The article suggests these contrasting perspectives are most pronounced in China with its traditional authoritarian culture and lack of flexibility in leadership styles. While that may be true, perhaps the statement "It's not easy for people to find problems with themselves" is universal.

Do bosses need to be liked? People respond to authority, particularly in a place like China; that is, until the next opportunity presents itself. Western conventional wisdom suggests that it is important to build trust, credibility and respect; there is no need to be liked. When those characteristics are combined with strong leadership, people will follow...as long as they are realizing benefits for themselves. The question then becomes if we can combine trust, credibility, respect, leadership and likability, can we drive even greater results?

Tim Sanders in The Likeability Factor defines likeability as your capacity to produce positive attitudes in other people about you. This usually create positive emotions in others. He argues that people are constantly making choices - whether to listen to you, whether to believe you and whether to value what you offer. Likeability affects all of these.

He breaks down likeability into four elements.
  1. Friendliness
  2. Relevance
  3. Empathy
  4. Realness or authenticity
If you are curious about your likeability factor, take the self-assessment, and give some thought to the one change you could make in your behavior that will increase your likeability.

Give us your thoughts on the importance of likability of your boss, and of you!

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