I was reading a blog post by the founder of Hub Spot the other day. One of the things that jumped out at me from the article was when he was talking about startups and how everything you need to get your startups going isn’t necessarily everything that you learned in business school. He was sort of making fun of all the complex models that you learn about in business school and how they aren’t necessarily as applicable as being able to read your bank account successfully, trying new things, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. All of it was really good and worth reading but what really jumped out at me was he when he talks about the importance of being likable. It really hit home with me because to some degree, as a leader, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have tough times, especially in a startup environment. So I think it really is important that you be likable.
You’re going to need to suffer through some times that aren’t ideal and you’re going to need people to believe in you. More importantly, you need people who want to succeed with you and want to play a part of helping you and the rest of the team get over the hump. I think that the importance of likability is undersold to a large degree within today’s marketplace. You read so many articles about the next big way for marketing your company, the next big way of inspiring innovation within your team, and things like that but I think he had it right saying without the likability factor those next big things are much harder to achieve. It was so simple which is maybe why we don’t think about it but I don’t think you can understate how important it is in terms of inspiring real results. Being likeable is a lot of the grease that gets things done. It is the stuff that helps people get through the hard times and I think that’s really important.