Mom was right: Sit up straight and smile!
So, it turns out that work really is like high school but with paychecks. We’ve all always known that likability is a factor in how well we do in the work world, but now it’s being documented that likability is of growing importance given the expanded influence of social media and video conferencing. A new article in The Wall Street Journal cites several recent studies which point to the tangible effects of being likable, including getting hired, being heard and remembered, having recommendations accepted, and getting raises and promotions.
This all seems like we’ve heard it before, but we at LandaJob are seeing even more evidence of it lately. It naturally rears its head in hiring processes – just through human nature, teams tend to hire the person they like the best and most want to work with, even if that person is not necessarily the most qualified. “Fit” is an overriding variable with most hiring and HR managers, and most of the time that has to do with some aspect of likability.
This also comes up in some of my work with career coaching clients, when someone is having on-the-job difficulties such as being passed over for promotion, feeling marginalized, or not getting traction in working with a supervisor or co-workers. Many times the underlying issues have to do with likability somewhere in the human equation.
Likability is like a social lubricant, and it’s what enables us to make connections and get things done. We can rant about how “not fair” it is, but truly practical people figure out the components and make them work in their favor.
Here’s the really interesting thing: when you boil it down, the basics are all of things our parents and teachers taught us. Looking people in the eye, standing up straight, modulating our voices, eliminating vocal tics, and smiling – these are all habits that enable us to connect and to influence others.
My mom will love hearing that she’s right again.