As we kick off 2023, we’re re-engaging with the acronym of ELASTIC. I wrote on Energy in December and introduced you to people who exemplify it, and now it’s time to turn our attention to Likeability.

I had reservations about including likeability — it seems subjective, and lacking in gravitas. But as I researched influential leaders, it kept cropping up. So it made the cut.

Why? Because people are naturally drawn to those they genuinely enjoy and respect. A leader who can build positive relationships with their team is more likely to be able to guide them towards success. Effective leaders need to be persuasive, and both evidence and experience suggest that people are most likely to be persuaded by a person they trust and enjoy. If you need something done, you’ll approach someone with whom you have high relational currency first.

Likeability is admittedly more of an outcome than a goal, but there are proven ways to increase it — so it can rightly be considered a skill, not just a trait. Being authentic and sincere, transparent in your interactions with others, true to your values, open to feedback, positive and empathetic are great places to start.

But likeability does have its pitfalls. Because people are often more drawn to those who are similar to them, an emphasis on likeability can potentially reinforce the status quo and limit diversity of perspectives. It can also be confused with “niceness” — which takes us into problematic territory that is often highly gendered in inequitable ways.

So, my mixed feelings about likeability persist. But I stand by the importance of building strong relationships as a lubricant for inspiring and motivating people to do their best work.

Next week, you’ll meet some people whose well-honed relational skills are having a big impact in their communities.

In the meantime, as we turn the calendar to a new year, I want to be sure you are aware of some upcoming key dates:

January 10 – A free information session about the upcoming workshop series on ELASTIC leadership. Join us to see if this personal development opportunity is a good match for you between now and June.

January 20Wiser by Choice begins — the book club where you don’t have to read the books, but can get up to speed on 4-6 leadership titles in an hour because I’ve read them for you. Our first session of 2023 will focus on Forging a Positive Path Forward.

January 20ELASTIC workshop series begins. Eight sessions that dig into real-life application of the concepts in my new book, designed for those who learn best through conversation, questions and connection. Registration is limited to 24 people — join this opportunity to engage directly with the author before this material is made available to other facilitators and coaches.

February 7 – Book release date! ELASTIC: Stretch without snapping or snapping back will be available. It’s a book that’s been crafted collaboratively, and it will be sold that way too. Buying ELASTIC on or around its release date helps us achieve bestseller status on Amazon. And if you leave a review there once you’ve read it, there will be prizes to be won! Stay tuned for a purchase link and an invitation to our digital launch party happening in early March.

I’ll look forward to seeing many of you at one or more of these upcoming events — thank you in advance for your support. And even more than a happy new year, I wish you a year of wisdom, meaning, clarity, energy and joy.

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