It Turns Out That Likeability Does Matter For IT Managers

by drjim on June 9, 2016

 How "likable" are you at work?

How “likable” are you at work?
Image Credit: Mark Nassal

If I asked you what the most important characteristic of a successful IT manager was, what you tell me? I’m sure that some of you would think about your IT manager skills and then say “good decision making”, others would say “budgeting”, and so on. It turns out that you would all be wrong. It turns out that the #1 most important personality characteristic for an IT manager to be successful is for them to be “likable”.

What Does It Mean To Be Likable?

It turns out that being “likable” really is a big deal at work. People judge how likable you are and then they make decisions about if they want to work with you, work for you, or even promote you. It can be difficult to be likable in person. However, it can be even more difficult to be likable on video.

So much of our communication with others now takes place using real time video tools and recorded video sessions that our ability to come across as being likable on video is just as important as being able to pull this off in person. The use of video conferencing is growing at a rate of 47% per year. It turns out that when we are watching someone on video, we are more influenced by how much we like them than the quality of their arguments. This is completely flipped around when we meet the people face-to-face.

If you are going to want people to like you, then you are going to have to come across as being trustworthy and authentic. Additionally, the more that you have in common with the people that you are dealing with, the more likable you will be. Finally, if you can tell engaging or persuasive stories, then your likability will shoot up.

Likability Can Be Taught

The bad news is that not all of us are instantly likable. When we get on video this can really come out. We become stiff and emotionless. We may also tend to over emphasis the points that we are trying to make. All of this comes across as being overacting to the people who are watching us and our likability goes way down.

If we want to become more likable, then we need to realize that there are three behaviors that we need IT manager training to work on. These three behaviors are making eye contact, smiling naturally, and remembering to vary our tone of voice. When you are talking with someone, think about what they are trying to get out of the conversation. If you can determine what your common ground is, then you will become much more likeable.

When you are talking with someone, you need to take the time to focus on their facial expressions. They are trying to tell you something. If you have to, stop the conversation in order to acknowledge what they are feeling at the moment. Empathizing with other people’s feelings is what is going to boost your likeability.

What All Of This Means For You

Although we may not realize it, it turns out that being a likable person is one of the most important personality characteristics that an IT manager may have in order to accomplish IT team building. How likable we are can have a big impact on who wants to work with us and when we end up getting promoted.

In order to be likable we need to be likable both when we are face-to-face with someone and when we are interacting via video. This is not easy to do. While on video, you are going to have to come across as being trustworthy and authentic. The good news is that likability can be taught. We need to learn to make eye contact, smile naturally, and vary our tone of voice. Master these three skills and watch your likability shoot up.

I think that deep down we’ve always known how important likability is. We may not have been able to put it into words or describe what it really was, but we all felt as though we would know it if we saw it. Now that we have a better understanding of the importance of likability and how to become more likable, we now need to get busy getting more people on our team to like us even more.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to become too likeable?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So I’ve got a quick question for you: when you are invited to a meeting, what time do you show up for it? I guess that there are three possible answers to this question: either you show up early, you show up just as the meeting is starting, or you show up late. So which one it it? If you are one of those folks who is always showing up late for meetings, you may not be aware of the impact that you are having on the other people in that meeting and perhaps on your entire company.

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