There’s one phrase that I hate to see on any executive’s [performance] evaluation, no matter how talented he may be, and that’s the line: “He has trouble getting along with other people.”
To me, that’s the kiss of death. “You’ve [the evaluator] just destroyed the guy,” I always think. “He can’t get along with people? Then he’s got a real problem, because that’s all we’ve got around here. No dogs, no apes—only people. And if he can’t get along with his peers, what good is he to the company? As an executive, his whole function is to motivate other people. If he can’t do that, he’s in the wrong place.”
A significant predictor of success in most professions is being easy to get along with. People who’re well-liked, work well with others, and help them do their jobs well will advance in any organization. Those who don’t usually don’t get as far.
Idea for Impact: Interpersonal relationships in the workplace are at the heart of the matter
Leadership is influence. Leadership isn’t about titles, positions, pedigree, distinction, or corner offices. A leader who can encourage, inspire, and direct others’ efforts will be effective in any endeavor.
If you’d like to exert more influence on your boss and inspire more cooperation from your peers and colleagues, work on being genuine, pleasant, sincere, easy to talk with, and friendly—without becoming desperate to please others.
Too, develop the antennae for what motivates people by respecting their ideas and values. That may sometimes necessitate holding back your own.
Read Dale Carnegie’s masterful manual on people skills, How to Win Friends & Influence People (1936.) Jeswald Salacuse’s Leading Leaders (2005; my summary) can help you expand your persuasive skills for situations where you may not have much influence over others.