When I was a young man, my Father had me read the book Nice Guys Finish Last by Leo Durocher. While there were aspects of the book I agreed with, I did disagree with a large part of it.
Dad was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force and he did teach me many things about being successful. I did notice that Dad really wasn’t “nice” per say, but he was likeable. There is a huge difference between nice and likeable. The biggest difference I determined is: nice allows people to walk on you while likeable commands respect.
So in today’s post, I am going to give you 24 tips to be a more likeable leader but still respected.
1: Be Humble
Arrogance and leadership do not mesh together. Just because you have a higher rank does not mean you are better than the person you are leading, and it is fine that you tell that to your subordinate.
2: Be Honest
As they say, honesty is the best policy. There is a time when you should not be brutally honest. But, if your subordinate asks you an opinion on something, it is right to be honest about the situation. If they came to work and have an odor, tactfully tell them. In the long run they will appreciate you for it. But, if you meet their spouse at a banquet and they seem to have an odor…it may just be best to keep your thoughts to yourself, unless they ask you.
3: Be Approachable
Great leaders are willing to spare a moment for any of their soldiers. The open door poilcy is a great thing.
4: Have A P.M.A.
P.M.A. stands for a positive mental attitude. If you are the can-do kind of leader and have a positive attitude even if a bird drops doo-doo on your shoulder, your subordinates will also have positive attitudes.
5: Be A Listener
The best leaders listen to what their subordinates are saying. You may not agree, but when you listen and are able to respond accurately, you will be liked and respected.
6: Don’t Be A Complainer
We all know one or two of them… the complainers. Likeable leaders are able to bear their complaints. We should never voice our complaints to our subordinates. Complaints should only be taken to superiors and you should be wise even doing that.
7: Likeable Leaders Tell Stories
Everyone likes a good story. Many of the respected, likeable leaders have developed a system of telling short stories when speaking with subordinates.
8: Use Humor
Just because you are the leader does not mean you have to be serious at all times. There are those moments when a tad bit of humor can take stress away and help your subordinates realize you are a likeable person.
9: Don’t Be Selfish
If you are making decisions that will benefit you but not the team, your subordinates will realize that. There are times when decisions will need to be made that will help your team, but may make things hard on you. That is being unselfish, and your subordinates will recognize it.
10: Don’t Be Judgmental
This can be a difficult situation. Just to give an example of a true to life position I was in: I was leading a church small group and a person who was a child molester just released from prison joined. Wow, I was in a spot! I detest child molestation, but I had to let the person’s current actions determine my responses to him. It was hard, but I gained respect.
11: Use The Simplicity Approach
The most likeable leaders are those who can take complex situations and simplify the issue and the solving of it. A good example are politicians. The ones who can simplify issues are the ones who are liked and get elected.
12: Focus On Your Wording
Likeable leaders think about the words they are using and how those words are delivered. Sometimes it is not exactly what you are saying, but how you are saying it.
13: Consider The Timing
Essentially, this comes down to empathy. Put yourself in the subordinate or team’s position and consider how they will take what you are about to ask and the timing of it. Likeable leaders are able to judge their timing.
14: Support Your Subordinates
likeable leaders are willing to stand in support of their subordinates even when it means putting themselves in a precarious position.
15: Connect Personally
Those little things like remembering their spouse and children’s names can make a huge difference. Just a little personal connection can create a like and respect that goes a long way.
16: Remember Their Names
It is a developed talent, but you need to remember the first and last names of your subordinates. This shows you care about them and they will like you for it.
17: You Cannot Allow Your Emotions To Respond
The best, and most likeable leaders control their emotions. No matter how mad, sad or hurt you are, it just cannot show until you are in a place where none of your subordinates are.
18: Be Fair
Do for one as you do for all, and do for all as you do for one. This goes for both punishments and rewards.
19: Be Generous
This draws that “fine line.” You do not want your subordinates thinking you are a pushover, but be willing to give. How about buying your team a steak dinner? Maybe just a trip to the pizza parlor? A little generosity goes a long way.
20: Be Trusting
This falls into the micro-managing zone. When you delegate responsibilities, just trust that your subordinate will follow your directions. If they screw it up, have them fix their mess.
21: Demonstrate Integrity
Simply put, leaders with strong moral values are both liked and respected, even if the subordinate doesn’t agree, they will like you because you stand for what you believe is right.
22: A Willingness To Get Your Hands Dirty
This is a simple method to be liked as a leader. If you ask a soldier to dig a hole, you could dig a few shovels full. Knowing you will do what you are asking them to do makes you likeable and they will respect you.
23: Learn To Read People
If Private Snuffy has a frown, there is a reason. Why not find out in a personal, questioning way. Same thing if Corporal Brewer is smiling. Even their walk can tell you many things.
24: A Willingness To Share Your Knowledge
Some leaders think that if they teach subordinates what they know will allow that person to take their job, so they don’t share their knowledge. I see it differently…Sure, they may take your job when you get promoted. And you will be liked.
I hope these 24 tips will help you become a more likeable leader. Do you agree with my findings? Please give your comments or questions below.
Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
- 12 Common Army Leadership Mistakes
- George Washington: His 37 Best Leadership Tips
- Top 7 Military Leadership Lessons from the Vietnam War
- Being Calm, Cool and Collected: Leadership Tip for Army Leaders
- Saving Private Ryan Review: Top 10 Leadership Lessons from the Movie
Former Army Major (resigned)
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