What Makes Us Likable?

While leaders often have to make tough or unpopular decisions and deal with many types of uncomfortable situations, in which they might not be viewed in a popular light, likability is a pretty important leadership quality.

In a recent Forbes article, Travis Bradberry does some research to uncover what makes us likable.
Bradberry cites a UCLA study in which 500 participants overwhelming described likable people with descriptors such as “sincerity, transparency and capable of understanding (another person).”

The TalentSmart research Bradberry cites says these descriptors used by participants to describe likable people depict an emotionally intelligent person. Emotionally intelligent people are empathetic and actively try to anticipate the needs of others.

Bradberry then lists 9 traits or mistakes to avoid if you want to be more likable: sharing too much, too early; being closed-minded; gossiping; name-dropping; interrupting a conversation with your phone; emotional extremity (making someone cry or throwing something out of frustration/anger); not asking enough questions (not focusing the conversation on the other person); being too serious; humble bragging.

You’ll note that all all these unlikable traits make us the focus of an encounter instead of the other person—and making the other person the positive focus of an encounter is at the core of what makes a person emotionally intelligent.