People Don’t Sue People They Like
I recently heard a study on medical lawsuits. The study found that the worst doctors don’t get sued, it’s the doctors with the worst bedside manners that get sued the most. Jeffrey Gitomer, famed sales trainer and coach, famously stated, “All things being equal, people do business with people that they like. All things not being equal, people still do business with people that they like!”
Likability is a success principle often overlooked in a hyper competitive world. We teach perseverance, intelligence, wisdom, and attitude to name a few, but rarely do we ask the fundamental human dynamic question, “Do people like you?”
I’ve often heard that leadership is not a popularity contest and I once heard a leader say, “If people like you, then you are probably not leading them correctly.” I was even told once, by a mentor, that people may not like you, but they should respect you. I don’t think likability and respect are mutually exclusive. I think they can both be achieved and that you can influence others and be respected and liked.
There is a fine line between making tough decisions and chasing the affirmation from others. I’m not advocating that you must seek the approval of others, which is a fool’s errand. I believe that you can influence others, earn their respect, and be a likable person all in the same. Here’s how:
- Be predictable. People don’t like surprises, they don’t like to be out of their comfort zones, especially in relationships. If people walk on egg shells around you, because of your mood swings and unpredictability, then they will avoid you. Learn to control your emotions and be consistent with how you approach and treat others.
- Be grateful. Anything you’ve accomplished in life is because you had the assistance of others. Be grateful towards others and acknowledge them for their help. People need affirmation, it’s like food for the soul, so don’t be stingy with your praise.
- Listen. I once asked a colleague how he knew he was respected. The colleague answered, “When I know I’ve been heard.” People need to be heard. Everyone has a voice and an opinion that must be validated. Shut up and listen, before you speak.
- Sacrifice. Give yourself freely to others and you will earn their respect. Be generous with your time, your money, and don’t be stubborn or prideful. Be quick to apologize and admit you’re wrong. No one wants to associate with a “know it all”. You will make mistakes, so sacrifice your ego and learn to say, “I’m sorry.”
- Forgive. People will let you down. Don’t hold grudges and keep score. Show others grace and you will receive it in return. Be quick to forgive and don’t hold on to past hurts. You must learn to get over relational issues. If you harbor ill feelings towards others, it will eventually show up in how you treat others. Don’t allow your heart to be weighed down by anger towards others, because they hurt you. That’s a miserable existence and will cause bitterness to seep through your words and actions.
- Seek humility. Don’t be a complainer. Your problems are no bigger than anyone else’s problems. When you constantly loathe your life issues, people will become resentful of you because you reveal your selfishness in your self-pity. On the flip-side, don’t over communicate your successes. Most will be happy when you achieve success, but keep in mind that life is a struggle and your success could spark resentment from others that may be in a deep valley in their own life. People don’t like to feel alone or abandoned, so if you are constantly boasting your success while others are wallowing in what they perceive as failure, then they will begin to resent you.
Learn to be likable and people will be attracted to you and more opportunities will come your way. What area in our life could you address to become more likable? Life is a lot easier to those that are likable. Are you a likable person? If not, what’s holding you back?