4 Steps to Becoming More Likable

with guest Daymond John #MakingBank S4E37

No matter how talented you are in any field, likability matters. It’s your x factor. It’s what gets you in the door, helps people remember you, and attracts them to working with you. Obviously, the intangibles matter, too – you can’t just be a likable chicken running around with your head cut off – but, if people like you enough, they will choose to work with you over other people even if you aren’t necessarily the most skilled, educated, or have the best business plan

This may sound backwards or upsetting to people who focus solely on achieving the task at hand and believe performance should be the end all be all of evaluation, but there’s more to it than that. We spend a huge portion of our lives and energy with people that we work with. Being able to spend that time with people we actually like helps us not only to enjoy our lives more; it also helps create a collaborative cohesion that achieves more in the long run. 

No matter how talented someone may be, if they talk down to others, nag them, or simply just aren’t pleasant to be around, it can have an extremely negative effect on the morale and output of the team. If you do have that likability factor you can have the opposite effect on your coworkers, helping them stay in a relaxed, creative, and productive mode, allowing everyone to achieve more together. Who doesn’t want that? 

Not everyone has that ‘it’ factor, but there are tangible things we can each focus on to become more likable and help create a better company culture. 

1. “Banking Relationship Capital” 

Daymond John coined the term ‘relationship capital,’ saying that we should always be careful not to overdraw from the imaginary bank accounts associated with our relationships. He references his relationship with Mark Cuban as an example, saying that he knows that Cuban doesn’t like phone calls, so he makes sure not to call him unless it is about an absolutely can’t-miss opportunity. 

Other people may get offended when someone like Cuban doesn’t answer the phone, but you can’t hold that against people, you just need to accept it. People’s communication preferences – actually, all of their preferences – should always be respected; otherwise, you start to become a source of negativity, a drain. 

If you draw too much from the bank your account balance is going to dwindle no matter how good your relationship is. Store that capital so that when you do ask for a favor or need to make that call, people will respect and appreciate you enough to come through for you.

2. Be About More Than Just a Paycheck

Nobody likes people who have no passion and no connection to their work beyond it being a means to an end. People like people who are driven to make the world a better place, to improve someone’s life. You don’t have to clean the oceans by yourself, but you should share your perspective on why you do what you do. If you’re not sure why, maybe you need to reevaluate what you’re doing. A tangible reason for your work, a purpose that you believe in, will make you a happier, more confident, engaged, and interesting person, all attractive qualities. 

If you are motivated by money, find a way to put that money to good use in order to benefit the lives of others. Maybe you can find a charity you like, or use your time to become a part of the Big Brother Big Sister program in your city. There’s something for everyone, and when you have a cause you believe in it will affect you positively most of all. 

3. Let People Know the Real You

Be yourself. Be funny. Don’t take life too seriously. People need to be able to see who you really are if you want them to like you. 

Make a point of becoming actual friends with your coworkers and business partners. Have a relationship outside of work. This can involve simply talking about life and finding shared interests and getting the occasional dinner or drinks after your workday. 

Open up, let people see your less serious side like your inappropriate level of love for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or what you thought about Jessica on Love is Blind. When people feel connected to the real you, when they know that you’re not just a work drone, they will be more interested in spending time and working with you. 

4. Change Your Focus 

Trying to be likable is a bit of a catch-22. If you try too hard it may have the opposite effect by making you come off as self-absorbed. 

Instead of actively trying to be liked, focus on liking others. Challenge yourself to find what you like about the people around you. Even the most annoying person has redeeming qualities, so figure out what they are and appreciate that about them, especially if they’re someone that you might not naturally be friends with. 

If you like other people, they will find a way to like you, and if you’re able to find something to like about the people that most others find annoying or uninteresting, you’ll win major kudos not only from those people, but from others who recognize your ability to find the good in everyone. 

This skill requires truly being able to reduce your own ego and act unselfishly, but if you do it well it will have a positive effect on everyone around you. It is a quality that few possess and everyone admires, and there is no better hack you can employ if you want to be more likable yourself. 

Being likable will help you, it will help your team, and it will open up opportunities in your life the same way a great education and wealth do. Most importantly, however, it will make your and everyone else’s time more fun, productive, and enjoyable. What could be valuable than that? 

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