We posted an article titled 13 Habits of Exceptionally Likeable People on the Outlier Series Facebook page and author John Shufeldt posted it as well. We came across the article in Entrepreneur.com and a version of it was first published in TalentSmart.com. So it seems, that not only has this article made its way into trending content, but post engagement from our fans on both pages- (in clicks, likes, and shares) showed it’s a topic you as outliers are interested in.
We took a closer look at the article, to see if the ideas matched with the 16 characteristics of exceptional leaders in Ingredients of Outliers. We wanted to know, is it important to be likable? From what perspective should an outlier view the 13 habits in the article. Below you will see how the items (on the left in black) matched up to those identified by author John Shufeldt (in grey on the right) over 30 years of his professional career.
To our surprise, the 13 habits were closely related to some facet of one of the 16 traits discussed in the leadership book. No one will meet each “likability” criteria perfectly, but with a comparison, at least we can see why they would want to aim toward practicing these habits. Check out our cross comparison below, and catch up on the article’s main points if it hasnt’ already made it’s way from your newsfeed to your “note-to-self” list.
13 Habits of Exceptionally Likable People—> Meets the 16 Ingredients of Outliers
1. They Ask Questions —> The are Humble (Chp 1)
A good leader does not always propose to know the answers right away. They investigate, ask questions and check their ego at the door. (BTdubbs, we have a FREE chapter on humility on our website right now for the taking.)
2. They Put Away Their Phones —> They Learn the Art of Communication (Chp 5)
The article rightly points out that the latest version of “icing” someone is to continue texting, answering phone calls, cruising instagram, taking compulsive selfies, and reply to “just this one” email while you are spending time with someone- be it a personal or professional meeting. The mark of an excellent leader is to politely excuse oneself if it is truly a priority email or phone call, and all the other communications can wait.
In chapter 5 of Ingredients of Outliers, author John Shufeldt also adds helpful tips like: Don’t go for a nose wipe before shaking someone’s hand, be sure to make eye contact (you may be communicating something you are not aware of if you don’t… more on this in the chapter), and remember to leave emoticons and excessive exclamations out of professional communications.
3. They Are Genuine— > They have Integrity (Chp 14)
Its hard to trust someone when they grit their teeth through a smile, their kind gestures come across as forced, or the words leaving their lips and writing on their face don’t match up. Whether we are aware or not, we pick up on these subtle signals, and something inside us tells us that the person in front of us is not being honest. It’s probably easy to think of someone who makes you feel this way as you read this, but sometimes the person in the mirror can be guilty of the same social crimes.
Check yourself, are you being genuine? Is there someone you don’t like? Work on your your kindness toward them (chapter 8 should give you some ideas). Your own attitude will soften toward them, and soon you will be more genuine when you interact. Have you ever made the effort to find out what is bothering you about them? If resolution is within reasonable parameters, politely let them know how they offended you, they might not be aware, and may greatly appreciate your bravery, if it is done with honesty and compassion.
On the other hand, sometimes the person raises red flags left and right. In chapter 15, Dr. John Shufeldt writes, “My guts have saved me, my patients and certainly my businesses. The rare times when I haven’t followed my instincts have been nearly unrecoverable.” To find out how to to tell when you may need to limit your interaction with a person, chapter 15 will be of great help.
4. They Don’t Pass Judgment—> They aren’t fooled by “failure” (Chp 2)
I’m sure you’re wondering how failure and passing judgement are related, but first, let’s not skip the important point made in the article. “Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require you believe what they believe or condone their behavior, it simply means you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick. Only then can you let them be who they are.”
One of the many reasons it’s important not to pass judgement, is because when someone appears to have failed in their endeavors, they may be on their way to the next biggest innovation. In chapter 2, author John Shufeldt tells the story of a guy named Ted. He attended a reputable school and held a position as Editor-in-Chief of the school’s magazine. Unfortunately, after a drinking party, Ted was expelled. We don’t know the incidents that occurred, we only know the consequences of his actions. Would you assume that Ted had any career in his adult life, or spiraled steadily downhill, having trouble keeping a job? What is your initial guess?
Contrary to his college fate, Ted regrouped and went on to a successful career, and during this time, he pursued his dream of writing children’s books. He was rejected by 27 different publishers. Would you believe his dream came true by that story? Would you believe that Ted was none other than Dr. Suess, one of the most beloved and successful children’s authors? You see, this is why it’s important not to pass judgement by taking on the assignment of deciding the value or measure of another person’s capabilities.
Read Chapter 2 and more on “failure” on the blog here.
5. They Don’t Seek Attention—> They check their Ego at the door (Chp 1)
It’s a common misconception that in order to be likable, you must be extroverted. It’s also a common misconception, that to be extroverted, you must always want to be the center of attention. While buzzfeed articles about the differences between introverts and extroverts linger in our newsfeeds with their high click-through-rates, it’s because the personality types are often misunderstood. It’s important to recognize, that constantly demanding the limelight is not a personality trait, it’s a choice. The most extreme offenders, or those most easily tempted to plug their recent ventures, name drop, and steal the show are often the most insecure. A kind person, whether introvert or extrovert, will recognize that this is a turn-off for most people, it will bother them that their listeners are only disdaining their every additional excessive rant or self promotion, not because it’s wrong to be confident, but without an appreciation for the timing or their audience, certain behaviors become inappropriate.
If you are worried people might be rolling their eyes when you speak, not to worry, sometimes we all fall into bad listening habits, or gain a bad rap. A reputation like this can be reversed surprisingly quickly if the offender is astute. Try some of the tips in our FREE humility chapter, and ask yourselves the questions included to find out if you are one of “those people”.
As E. Joseph Cossman says it, “A person all wrapped up in himself generally makes a pretty small package.”
6. They Are Consistent —> Persistence (Chp 3) + Indefatigably (Chp 12) = Success
Being inconsistent can make you unreliable from a friend’s perspective, and un-hireable from an employer’s. For stories of success, go back to before the invention was put to use, the book was written or before the award was received. Often the inventor encountered struggles, rejection and failure, and the innovator tried the same constants, slightly switching variables, and steadily worked years before ever seeing a measure of success. Story after story in both chapters will leave you amazed at the benefits of persevering under trials.
7. They Use Positive Body Language —> Communication (Chp 5)
This goes back to communication. Body language tells others what our words don’t. Sometimes you are putting out something that is unintended or contrary to your desired message. Review the list below to see if your body language is betraying your. Some tips from Chapter 5:
- Try to avoid crossing your arms or slouching, this conveys disinterest or ambivalence
- Talking over your shoulder as you leave the room can convey disrespect
- Crossing your legs or folding your arms while sitting can convey you’re hiding something
Be optimistic/ enthusiastic (Chp 10) , Be yourself (Chp 16)
“Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction.” The point made in the article was not meant to scare you, but help you become aware of how important your communication is. If you like a person, and want to be their friend, or are interested in a company and have the opportunity for an interview, wouldn’t you want to put your best foot forward? Showing them you are excited helps them perceive your interest and they will be more likely to remember you. It’s also important, to know, be yourself, no one is interested in meeting a clone or a robot.
11. They Know When To Open Up, 12. They Know Who To Touch (and They Touch Them)—> Intuition, “Your guts don’t lie” (Chp 15)
Listening to your tuition will tell you when the right time is to open up to a person. Doing so without discretion can include gossip, complaining and sharing personal information in the wrong environment. It’s important to listen to your gut for when to keep a comment in, even if you have the urge to vent.
On the subject of touch- in some European and Latin countries, it’s a common custom for friends to hold hands. The article talks about the release of oxytosin (the “bonding hormone”) when we high five, pat on the back, or hug. Again, use your best judgement though, if a touch is unwelcome, it can have the opposite effect. Even if you don’t understand or think you might have been misunderstood, respect that person’s boundaries and use your words and body language to communicate you care instead.
Quoting the article, “People gravitate toward those who are passionate. That said, it’s easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likable people balance their passion with the ability to have fun. At work they are serious, yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They minimize small talk and gossip and instead focus on having meaningful interactions with their coworkers. They remember what you said to them yesterday or last week, which shows that you’re just as important to them as their work.”
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