Being Likeable Never Really Works

LIKEJust about everyone wants to be liked. That?s not just human nature but a survival mechanism that?s been hardwired into the brain chemistry of a wide range of social animals going back millions of years.

With all the hype over personal branding, employee engagement, and social networking, it?s not surprising that the pursuit of likability is top of mind for many of you. And that is unfortunate.?

When you try to get people to like you, it never works because it’s disingenuous. In all likelihood you’ll be perceived as desperate, selfish, and manipulative. And that can definitely backfire.

I arrived at that conclusion by raising and answering some important questions that nobody ever seems to ask1. What does it really mean to be liked by your stakeholders ? employees, customers, and investors ? and how relevant is likability in business?

2. Can changing your behavior in order to be liked really work or is there perhaps a more effective way to achieve successful relationships? ?

3. Since we no longer live in caves, how important is likability in our modern connected world, especially with respect to online social networks?

First, let me explain why we all have this need to be liked.

Many animals evolved as social creatures because a societal structure increases longevity while individuals isolated from the group have a lower survival rate. As a result, strength and safety in numbers is one of a handful of survival imperatives that strongly influence our behavior, to this day.

But in time, humans have diversified, our intelligence has evolved, and being outcast from the group is no longer a death sentence. On the contrary, our business leaders actually include innovators who think differently, break from the status quo, and create new and better ways of doing things. They are the outcasts.