eMusings Newsletter


         VOLUME THREE, ISSUE 12      


3 Human Elements






   Ho, ho, ho! Tis the season...if you have any doubt, just visit your facebook page where folks are joyously posting pics of their kids and grandkids on the lap of jolly ole Saint Nick. More than 1200 malls around the country engage these "Santa's helpers" every year. Do you ever stop and wonder where they all come from?

     Well, I'll tell you - most of them are proud graduates of Santa school. The longest continuously running Santa Claus School in the world is right here in the United States. The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School, established in 1937 and located in Midland, Michigan (housed in Santa House downtown - where else?) prides itself on helping its students capture the spirit of Santa and bring to life the legends of Saint Nicholas.

     According to The Santa News Journal, not just anyone can wear the red suit. At the top of the list of qualities a Santa needs - just ahead of patience and a working knowledge of live reindeer habits (it appears one needs to know nothing of dead reindeer habits) - is an outgoing, friendly personality, someone who takes great delight in interacting with everybody. These qualities make Santa likeable and according to the experts who hire these "helpers" throughout the year, the first trait they look for in potential Saint Nicks is likeability.

     It turns out that getting hired as Saint Nick isn't the only situation where likeability matters. It may well be the deciding factor in every competitive engagement we have, including getting a job, moving up in our careers or even finding marital bliss. (Turns out that likeable people have only half the divorce rate of the general population.)

     Most of us believe that what happens in our lives is the result of the choices we make. As it turns out, the choices other people make about us also have tremendous impact. And people choose who they like. In this month's emusings, we'll take a look at likeability - why it's important that people like us and how we can "up" our likeability factor.


 Jennie Ayers

Senior Partner, BoldWork  
In This Issue
Likeability is Key to Success
Discover Your L-Factor!
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"Likeability - Key to Success" by Jennie Ayers                                          

(785 words - estimated reading time: around 3 minutes)


I first got turned on to Tim Sanders when a friend loaned me one of his books, "Saving the World at Work", in which he proposes that companies need to go beyond making a profit and start making a difference. I liked much of what he had to say, which sent me looking for other things he'd written...which is when I came across "The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life's Dreams." While I think the title of the book is a little on the hyperbolic side, Sanders has done us the favor of amassing both scientific and anecdotal evidence on why being liked is critical when it comes to both business and personal success.


likeability factor book coverSanders defines likeability as the ability to create positive attitudes in other people through the delivery of emotional and physical benefits. When we like someone, we feel a greater sense of joy, happiness, relaxation or rejuvenation when we're around them. And if we're depressed, full of anxiety or bored, being with people we like lessens those feelings. When we're likeable and can generate those positive feelings in other people, it puts us on the receiving end of a positive choice. For example, studies done by Columbia University find that colleagues who are well liked at work are recommended for fast-track promotions and generous pay raises. Doctors give more time to patients they like. Juries not only want to award compensation to plaintiffs they like, the amount of compensation they give is higher. And when it comes to politics, only one of three factors - issues, party affiliation and likeability - has been consistent in predicting final election results - and that factor is likeability.


The Four Components of Likeability


According to Sanders, there are four components of likeability:

  1. Friendliness. This seems like a no-brainer. If we perceive that someone likes us, we're more inclined to like them back. Well, duh. But here's something I didn't know. An unfriendly first encounter can create a big roadblock to future likeability. When we run across someone who's unfriendly, our bodies react by deploying cortisol, "the stress hormone". This release of cortisol into our bloodstream creates physical discomfort, which can include a pounding chest, the sweats, even minor shaking. Simply seeing the person who was initially unfriendly to us can cause these symptoms to reappear. No wonder "first impressions" count.
  2. Relevance. Even if people are friendly, we have little reason to care about them unless we connect with them in some way. Relevance is stronger when we uncover our mutual interests or when the personal value proposition we offer meets another person's needs and wants. For example, I have an acquaintance living in Ireland. She and I are in touch, on a superficial level. But if I suddenly had to travel to Ireland on a work related issue, she would become more relevant to me.
  3. Empathy. The degree to which someone else understands us makes them more likeable to us. Conversely, the degree to which others feel that we understand them, that we can imagine ourselves in their position and understand their feelings, desires, ideas and/or actions, the more apt they are to like us. Empathy enhances likeability - it helps us feel appreciated, validated and less alone.
  4. Realness. Likeable people are real. No lying. No hypocrisy. No insincerity. We like people who are authentic.

Boosting Your L-Factor


smiling handOf course, we'd only have half a book if Sanders didn't go on to outline just how we can boost our own L-Factor. We don't have the space to give you a complete rundown on how you can become more likeable (nor do you have the time to read it now). If your interest is piqued, you'll have to get the book. But I want to mention the one component that may be the most difficult to get a handle on - realness.


I know, you're probably thinking, "I know who I am and what I value." I'm pretty confident of that myself. I'm conscious to exaggerate less. I've learned to say "I don't know" when I don't know. I haven't forgotten where I've come from. And I'm pretty good about spot-checking my behavior to see if I'm being consistent with what I say I value. However, there were two pieces of "homework" I found challenging.

  • Identify the 31 words that describe the real you.
  • Create your own personal history chart - a graphic which represents you.

I'm still working on the 31 words. And so far, the graphic's a mess. What about you? Can you write down 31 words that describe the real you? And how are you at charting?


Curious about your own L-Factor? Check out the short entry below.



"Discover Your L-Factor!" by Jennie Ayers 

smiley face mugHow likeable are you?


That can be a tough question to answer. Luckily, Tim Sanders has made it easier by providing an assessment tool that helps us get to our likeability quotient. The L-Factor Self-Assessment uses a ten point scale to help measure the positive or negative feelings we can arouse in others. If you score three or fewer points, Sanders suggests you need major improvement in the likeability arena. Scoring four to six points puts you in the "average" range and if you score seven or more points well, then...you're darn likeable. Don't freak if you don't score a perfect ten. Few people do. And don't worry if you've got some improving to do. I took the test and I have yet to reach my full likeability potential.


Remember, too, that our L-Factor fluctuates. We can't be total charmers every day. But we can boost our overall likeability, which can positively impact business success.





boldworklogoAt BoldWork, we specialize in helping businesses and organizations optimize the performance of the people who work for them.

Typically, our clients come to us when they are seeking to change, to solve problems or to challenge a status quo that no longer works. Most importantly, they call us when they want to create a WorkClimate that increases motivation and strengthens employee engagement.

Please take a moment and visit our website at www.doboldwork.com to find out more about us and what we have to offer. Or contact us for additional information at info@doboldwork.com