The key to success? Be a nice guy. Seriously.
Obviously, be competent, smart and forward-thinking. But according to Tim Sanders, author of The Likeability Factor, your career success depends on having personal well-being and playing well with others.
‘The grim reality is that life is a popularity contest,’ says Sanders, a Loyola-Maramont graduate and former indie-rock musician. ‘There was a Harvard Business Review study about how people select who they want to work with. And you know what? Everyone would rather work for a likable fool than a competent jerk.’
Sanders is part of a new breed of managers who are looking for ’emotional talent.’ rather than just physical and mental skills. Being a nice guy, he shared with us some tips to finding emotional satisfaction in our career, from finding a perfect job to loving the one you get.
Read Fortune’s “Best Places to Work” issue. ‘You’ll find places, like this software company in North Carolina, Saks, that has enforced 35-hour maximum work weeks, paid-for meals, etc. You want to work at a place like this.’
Reconnect with your gratitude. ‘Before you go in to an interview, write down three things you’re grateful for. It’ll give you an authentic smile as you walk in.’
Before you take a job, talk to the person you report to. ‘You need to know if they like you, and vice versa.’
Tell the truth, even if it hurts. ‘Don’t apologize for your resume. If you didn’t finish college, tell ’em. If the interviewer gives you credit for something you didn’t do, let them know.’
Don’t be Terrell Owens. ‘You can catch a touchdown every day, and you’ll still be fired for attitude. During layoffs, people with the lowest likeability go first.’
Learn to recognize emotions. ‘There are seven basic emotions in the face. [Note: they’re on Tim’s Web site]. Learn them, and you’ll learn the person. If Othello had understood the difference between guilt and fear, he’d have never killed his wife.’
If your boss makes you crazy, quit. ‘If you stay, you’ll increase your chance of heart problems and having a stroke by 20-30%.’