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Leadership Challenge: How Lovable Are You?

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Thu Jul 11 2013

Leadership Challenge: How Lovable Are You?
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(From INC.com)--If you want to be an exceptional leader, warmth and approachability matter far more than competence. Here's why.

Most leaders emphasize strength, competence, and credentials at work, but, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article, that's exactly what you don't want to do.

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Similar to Inc.'s special report on the 7 Traits of True Leaders, in which Inc. editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan argues that the most effective leaders today are those who embrace traits once considered feminine like inclusiveness and vulnerability, the_Harvard Business Review_ says that the most powerful way to influence--and lead--is to be lovable.

The article authors, Amy J.C. Cuddy, a Harvard Business School professor, and Matthew Kohut and John Neffinger, who also wrote Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential, say employees react best to leaders who exude warmth, and authentically invest time and effort to connect with them.

Here's some more highlights on how they came to these conclusions, and recommendations for how you too can become a more lovable leader.

Even If You're Extremely Competent, You Still Need to Be Warm

Cuddy and her colleagues Susan Fiske of Princeton, and Peter Glick, of Lawrence University, found that a high level of competence combined with a lack of warmth actually elicits envy in others. You have to have a high level of competence as well as a high level of warmth if you want to evoke admiration. If you lack competence all together, a lack of warmth will bring out contempt, while a high level of warmth will get you pity.

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If You're Disliked, You Won't Get Anywhere

In their report, the authors reference a study conducted by leadership consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, which found that 27 of 51,836 leaders were "rated in the bottom quartile in terms of likability and in the top quartile in terms of overall leadership effectiveness." So the chance that a manager is both disliked and considered a good leader is about one in 2,000.

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