Be honest now. Have you ever wondered why you’ve never been promoted to a leadership position?
It’s not your bad attitude, or your deplorable lack of productivity, or the history of colossal blunders that are the milestones of what we laughingly call your career. Since your company’s entire management team is full of lazy bunglers with bad attitudes, the real reason must be something different.
They’re likable, and you’re not.
Or so writes Dr. Travis Bradberry, a contributor to Huffington Post and the author of “10 Habits of Super Likeable Leaders.”
As the good doctor points out, “People inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under the leader’s control, such as approachability, humility, and positivity.”
This is good news. You’re already supermodel attractive, and stubbornly resistant to any kind of learning, but you can become more likable. In fact, you are currently so darn unlikeable that almost anything you do to move the needle in the other direction would be a major improvement.
Interested? Dr. Bradberry will see you now.
“Even in a crowded room, likeable leaders make people feel like they’re having a one-on-one conversation.” This is not easy at a crowded company event, so be sure to grip the lucky recipient of your company by the ears and pull them towards you. If you feel their attention wandering, give those ears a little scratch. Hey, it works for your dog.
Likable leaders are humble. They “don’t act as though they’re better than you, because they don’t think they’re better than you.”
Since, obviously, you are so much better than everyone else in your company, you will have to tread lightly here. The best strategy is to keep a record of your co-workers failings. Then, regularly, grab a co-worker by the ears and tell them exactly what’s wrong with them. Just be sure to end each condemnation session with an uplifting remark, like, “Yes, you are a stupid moron, but that doesn’t make me better than you.”
They’re so stupid that they might even believe it.
Likable leaders are positive. They “emanate an enthusiastic hope for the future, a confidence that they can help make tomorrow better than today.” Since it won’t be easy to get out from under the clouds of doom and gloom that float above your head, remember that the travails of today will not last, since you will certainly be fired. And after you are fired, you will eventually be dead. If that doesn’t make you emanate more positivity, I don’t know what will.
Likable leaders “savor success without letting it go to their heads, and they readily acknowledge failure without getting mired in it. They learn from both and move on.”
We don’t really know how you handle success since you’ve had so little of it, but you’re no stranger to failure, so you do know you can move on. Usually, you move on to the unemployment office.
Likable leaders are “unfailingly generous with whom they know, what they know, and the resources they have access to.” Good idea! Instead of attending the next staff meeting, encourage the team to meet your No. 1 resource — the bartender at the Kit Kat Klub. While your co-workers are soaking their battered psyches in a expertly crafted Corpse Revivers, you can sneak back to the office and report everyone to your manager. How generous is that?
“Even a leader who oozes charm won’t be likeable,” Bradberry writes, “if that charm isn’t backed by a solid foundation of integrity.” This is a challenge. Your choice is either to get some integrity — highly unlikely — or do a lot more oozing. I say, go for it. No one oozes like you ooze.
Likeable leaders have charisma. This doesn’t mean you need to become fascinating, or develop a magnetic personality. All you have to do get people “to like themselves when you’re around.”
This you do already. You’re such a terrible employee that all your co-workers feel better about themselves in comparison. And you are fascinating. Everyone is fascinated by how you manage to keep your job.
Likeable leaders have substance. “They don’t puff themselves up or pretend to be something that they’re not.” This could be a problem, but with time and luck and a few more decades failing to get a promotion, you will have something substantial to say which will brighten the hearts of managers and co-workers alike.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at email@example.com.