What Makes You A Likable Leader?

Words of Wisdom from Jeb Blount’s “People Buy You”
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One of my favorite topics to discuss is self-awareness. I am always surprised how much of a struggle it is for many leaders to pick up on this trait. If practiced as a habit, it not only benefits the leader but any relationship within their circle of influence.

If you want to be a more approachable, coachable, and shakable leader; then become self-aware of these seven behavioral traits that the author, Jeb Blount, points out in his book, People Buy You.


Seriously, it is that simple. If you are a leader who smiles, you will be more likable than a leader who frowns all day. It is not unbelievable. People naturally draw towards smiles. It is a non-verbal way of communicating positivity, openness, and comfortability.

Smiling sends out raw, contagious energy. When a stranger smiles at you in public, your lips respond even before you can think about it.

Smiling puts people in a good mood. Even if things are going wrong — chaos has engulfed your whole department — a smile from the leader can lower stress levels.

If you can not articulate your emotions with words, then say it with a smile.

Good Manners

In 2018, Chick-Fil-A became the first real “fast food” chain to receive an “A” for its food quality. Chipotle and Panera are considered fast-casual chains.

It’s not just the food quality that made Chick-Fil-A the best food chain in America, but rather their good manners.


Offering a warm greeting, staying engaged, and providing a fond farewell seems like common sense, but it is not common practice. If the leader uses good manners when communicating with all employees, the team will reciprocate those manners towards each other as well as guests, clients, and stakeholders.

Saying “Please” and “Thank You” is the most straightforward and most sincere way to become more likable.

Being There

If you want to make your employees feel unappreciated, then pull out your phone while they are trying to talk to you. If you want your team to see you as a poor communicator, then bring your laptop to the next team meeting to work on anything other than what the presenter is discussing.

You may think your time is precious, desiring to stay connected to technology at every moment, but it is not making you more likable.

It is a bit of an understatement to say that we have become addicted to our phones. These devices have absorbed our attention spans, thus creating a rift between authentic human connection. They allow us to stay connected in a multitude of ways, but we seem to be getting further distracted.

You can stay focused on your employees. Do not allow yourself to get distracted. Look them in the eyes when communicating. If you have trouble doing this, focus on their eye color. Listen to what they are telling you and respond appropriately.

Your employees give you their time, do your due diligence, and give them yours.


Your team needs a leader who is going to be more enthusiastic about the work than they are, so show your interest. A little encouragement goes a long way. Believe in your team — ask them to pitch the ideas that excite them. Show that you are interested in who they are as a person, not just a worker.

When problems arise, do not steer away from them. Work with your team to find the solution. The more enthusiastic you are about problem-solving, the more your team will emulate that same passion.

Practice the art of complimenting. Offer a genuine compliment to keep your team enthusiastic about their job and ready to dive further into the hardest challenges your company faces. If your team knows you care, they will work for you.


Likable leaders lead with confidence. They do not allow fear to hinder them. While fear is necessary, it does not control a leader’s determination. A good leader is confident about their mistakes as much as their firm decisions. Likable leaders own up to their mistakes, even when their team has made them.

With confidence comes the ability to deliver on your promises. If you approved vacation days, then do not take them back. If you promised a revaluation of job duties after a year of service, do not back away from that. If you promised growth and development opportunities, then seek them out for your employees. They will work longer and harder for a leader who is confident in their ability to lead well.

Invest in Yourself

Jeb Blount says that your employees will judge you by your physical appearance. It is vital to keep yourself healthy, mind, body, and soul.

Promote wellness days where you can encourage exercising, proper sleep techniques, and offer healthy snacks and employee meals. If your team sees you taking care of yourself, then those positive habits begin to affect them.

Invest in a robust belief system, living by a firm moral code. Allow your employees to meditate when stress runs rampant in the office. Look into corporate wellness systems that your employees can utilize online and at home. The more your employees see you trying to better yourself, the more likable you become.


All of these tips mean nothing without authenticity. Do not falsify anything, but become transparent. It does not take much to care about another human life genuinely. Your employees are giving up their energy to your cause. A paycheck is not enough anymore as an appropriate gesture of gratitude.

Leaders need to be authentic. Care for your team. Ask about their weekends, their baby’s birthday party, their school projects, their hobbies, and their dreams.

The more authentic you are about your interest in them, the more likable you will become.

The Storytether

You don’t have to be born with a “likability” gene to attract others to you. Anyone can learn this by following a few of these simple steps. Tether yourself to one of the seven practices to begin changing your leadership process slowly. I can guarantee a positive shift in your “Likert” scale for the next company survey.

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