Let me ask you a question: Do you ever find that the most likable people you know are also the most honest? You think there’s a correlation? You betcha.
The most honest people are well-liked because they are typically fair, considerate, respectful, listen to all sides, and hold themselves and others to a higher standard.
They don’t play mind games or try to manipulate. They don’t rely on cryptic hints or other passive-aggressive behaviors to get their point across. They are transparent and speak their truth openly.
In the workplace, it doesn’t matter how talented, smart, or tech-savvy your team is; if individual contributors aren’t displaying the characteristics of likable people in close collaboration, you will often find conflict, back-stabbing, gossip, and people being thrown under the bus.
Becoming a workplace of likable people.
The formula for flipping a toxic workplace of squabbling co-workers and controlling bosses to a civil environment where colleagues are well-liked is actually common sense, but not common practice: It’s hiring more people exemplifying the values akin to honesty and integrity. This should be the foundation for every corporate culture, but it’s not.
Billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett understands this principle when building new teams. For anyone assuming hiring duties, take this Buffett quote to heart:
“We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.”
That now-infamous quote was taken from a talk Buffett gave to MBA students at the University of Georgia a few years back. Reality check: Is anyone working with the dumb and lazy now?
Honesty and integrity may not be the only means to an end toward building a likable workplace. But it’s a great start.
Here’s what these two attributes will do once infused into your workplace. My hope is that you’re witnessing these habits now.
1. People will respect one another.
When co-workers and bosses are true to themselves, they not only trust the judgments and decisions that they make, but others around them will trust them as well. Trust begets respect and creates likability among teams and co-workers.
2. People will do the right thing, and do things right.
When colleagues are honest and operating with integrity, they don’t hesitate to do the right thing—it’s ingrained in them. They never have to second-guess themselves—who they are, what they have to do, and what looks questionable in their eyes. In a likable setting, all of these things align perfectly as people go about their day doing the right thing and doing things right.
3. People will manage their problems seamlessly.
When your peers and superiors are honest with themselves and others, you’ll notice that they have the strength and openness to deal with problems quickly and head-on, instead of procrastinating, avoiding conflict, or sweeping things under the rug. This raises the likability factor to new heights.
4. People will resist caving in to pressures outside their values.
One of the great measures of likability is staying true to who you truly are. Even when things don’t go their way, people living with honesty and integrity are willing to accept the consequences of being true to what they consider to be right, at the core of their being. These people are likable because they don’t cave in to others dictating their course. They take control of their lives and move forward with confidence.
5. People will manage their stress better and create a happier workplace.
How well-liked are people of honesty and integrity, really? I’ll answer that with another question. How would you feel if, every day, you worked with colleagues and bosses who said what they meant, stayed true to their word and actions, communicated clearly their expectations—especially when things change—and behaved in accordance with these likable traits every day? Now imagine how much lower your stress level would be when working in such conditions. It’s these types of workplaces made up of real human beings unafraid of expressing their emotions that will make you get up in the morning and go, “I can’t wait to get to work because I like—love—who I work with.”
Originally published at www.inc.com