Smiling when we brand ourselves digitally is de rigueur. Just look at the photos we post on our social networks or the intranet, our professional profiles on LinkedIn and the company website. Personal branding is a necessity in today’s connected talent market, but is it a true reflection of our capability and does it help us to build quality personal and business relationships?

As a recruitment consultant I meet new people every day. Someone with a weak handshake who doesn’t look you in the eye, doesn’t make a good impression. They may still be very capable, and it’s my job to uncover that, but I’ll also be coaching them to better present themself in person.

How about the last time you were introduced to someone who was warm and engaging, smiled and called you by name? It’s highly likely you’ve since built on the relationship, and may even be working with them now. Studies show a pleasing personality and a positive attitude goes a long way towards being successful. In Why Likability Matters More at Work, The Wall Street Journal reports, “Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven.”

I work with CEOs and company directors on a day-to-day basis. People at that level depend on their staff to represent them well to colleagues, clients and other stakeholders. So when I’m hiring, I’m certainly looking for someone who is likeable (with the skills, competencies and required experience for the role).

Richard Feloni has identified 14 Habits of Exceptionally Likeable People. Here are my pick – seven of the most important:

  1. They develop a positive mental attitude
  2. They pay close attention to someone speaking to them
  3. They are able to maintain their composure
  4. They are patient
  5. They keep an open mind
  6. They smile when speaking with others
  7. They know that not all their thoughts need to be expressed

Organisations that successfully retain their top talent do so with a management style that reflects positively on their employees; incentive and retention programs notwithstanding. All the stats show staff leave managers, not companies. Let’s face it, we spend more time with our work colleagues than friends and family, so who would you rather work with?

Is it important for you to work with likeable people? Do you think likeability makes a difference in your workplace?