Leadership: Personable Power

Most people like to be liked. It not only makes us feel good, but life runs more smoothly when we get on well with others. When it comes to leadership in the workplace, the same is true.

Being liked as a leader can sometimes be difficult.

As the head of a team you’re required to deal with a variety of personality types, make tough calls, direct projects, have difficult conversations—all while trying to keep your team happy. It’s a tall order.

There has been a lot of focus and research put into successful leadership. According to the Centre for Creative Leadership, employees across three generations highlighted four types of leadership as most effective: humane-orientated, participative, team-orientated, and charismatic.

Each of these styles have something in common: successful relationships.

Most leaders understand what it means to be professional in their role. But what about being personable? A personable leader is one that is approachable, relatable, and open.

Why does this matter in leadership and team success?

  1. Trust: Employees won’t trust you if they can’t approach or relate to you.

  2. Communication: A lack of trust can lead to the absence or breakdown of open communication.

  3. Collaboration: Open communication is needed for successful collaboration within a team.

Here are some practical tips to nurturing a personable side to your leadership style.

Start meetings differently.

Share something about your life and open the floor for others to do the same—i.e. a recent movie you enjoyed, a personal achievement, or weekend adventure. This engages the team in friendly and trusting communication, paving the way for meeting success.

Find common ground.

What your employees share at these meetings can clue you in on what matters to each individual. Use this new-found information to guide friendly chats throughout the day in the elevator, breakroom, or your office. Build rapport!

Actively listen.

Pay full attention when your team members speak. It’s easy to tell when someone is committed to a conversation, so don’t half-heart it! Engage with your eyes and body language while acknowledging what they say.

Don’t be afraid to share.

As a leader you will have developed a finesse for knowing what you can and can’t share. Yet don’t shy away from important opportunities to connect.

Perhaps you can share your own experiences with stress on the job when your team is under the pump for deadlines.

Or open the floor to conversations during awareness campaigns—e.g.  R U OK day, Sleep Awareness week, Movember, and even Earth Day. This will create a safe space for people to bond over causes and start conversations that matter.

Have a sense of humour.

Whether it’s in meetings, in the break room, or over a team email—humour can be a great tool for emotional release during the work day. Keep it work appropriate and inoffensive—like endearing dad jokes or work-related comics. Even if no one laughs out loud, they’ll appreciate you being human and friendly.  

The leadership terrain might not always be a walk in the park, but the more personable you are, the more others will willingly follow and learn from you.