The Likability Factor

April 25, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

As a member of the Technology community I have noticed too many project failures. In an effort to insure that I am never in charge of one of these failures, I have spent countless hours researching the most important skill to achieving success.

I have discovered that the single most important factor to achieving project success is likability. You must be considered likable to your executives, peers, project stakeholders, and staff in order to get anything accomplished. People do not like putting in extra hours or committing to you if you are not likable. Likability can be a complicated thing, but it really comes down to how genuine you are and how much you truly care about the stakeholders.

I have met a number of highly trained project leaders, but they still can’t deliver something successfully. They have all of the tools in their toolbox, but overlook taking care of their people. MBAs, PMPs, and other Masters Degrees and credentials provide excellent training and skills to succeed. However, these programs don’t focus on the human nature element of why people do what they do.

If you are failing at what you are doing today, take some time to analyze your key relationships. Do you get along with those people, or do you tend to disagree most of the time? Don’t get me wrong, building positive business relationships take just as much time and effort as building personal relationships. However, I guarantee it is worth the extra effort.

My advice is to take the time to build true relationships, and in some cases friendships with the people you work with on a daily basis. Spend the extra time to take your team, peer, or senior executive out for a cup of coffee or a lunch. Set up project team networking event on a Friday afternoon. Take the time to learn about what people do outside of work. Learn about what motivates the people you work with and try to make sure they get what they want out of what they are doing for you. Getting to know someone on a personal level will help you connect in the boardroom.

I myself have taken the time to employ relationship building habits on a daily basis. Simple things like getting out of my office to walk around and say good morning to everyone have gone a long way. I have also made an effort of taking my team and project stakeholders out to lunch on a regular basis. I can’t say if I have become more likable or not, but I have been able to get the commitment out of the people that I want.

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